But the couple, who live at Cop Cottages, off Sealand Road , are thankful the effluent didn’t enter their home where they have lived together more than 30 years.
Pam was actually raised next door where she was born almost 80 years ago because her late father Tom worked for Chester Corporation which used to run the sewage works and the house came with the job.
Up to 1,000 tonnes of sewage may have spilled out into the River Dee during Thursday night’s incident which is believed to have been caused by a burst pipe and is currently under investigation.
When the Hipkiss family returned home, they were greeted by the sight of their garden swamped with sewage between six and eight inches deep which has since soaked into the soil.
“We were out, we came back and it came as a shock to us,” said Barrie, who explained that Welsh Water contractors had been working solidly ever since to decontaminate the garden. And the company has committed to picking up the bill which is expected to run into thousands of pounds after the ground has been landscaped.
Flowers have had to be removed, the vegetable patch is ruined and ‘a couple’ of expensive fish are believed to have died in the pond. Sheds will also have to be replaced.
But there is no health risk and the couple declined Welsh Water’s offer of accommodation because they need to look after their cats, chickens and a 12-week-old puppy.
“It’s a nightmare, “ said Barrie, who has nevertheless remained incredibly calm.
He added: “We’re both around 79, Pam’s coming up to 80. You think at this stage of your life you will never get anything like this. We enjoy our garden. We look after it. It was a nice garden. People take photos of it. It was colourful. We’ll get it back but it’s going to take time.”
During their 53 years of marriage, the couple have received presents including plants such as rose bushes and seats which are irreplaceable.
“One of the guys said it’s the most damage he’s ever seen done caused by a fractured pipe,” said Barrie, who has always loved living at Cop Cottages, despite being next to the sewage works. The couple appreciate the view over the river, the privacy and especially their garden. Interestingly, they have never been that bothered by the smell.
Pam is also upset but philosophical.
“These things happen,” she said. “It’s an accident and they’ve worked hard to try and put it right. They’ve been brilliant.
“I am more upset at the garden with all my plants going than I am it happening because the plants I’ve got hold a lot of memories and we’ve been married 53 years. A lot of those plants are presents that people bought. I’m just blessed that it’s not come in the house.”
The next door property escaped relatively unscathed although a grassy area has been contaminated.
Last Thursday's incident comes just a month after open water swimmer Barry Johnston raised the alarm when he spotted and shot a video of diluted sewage being released into the River Dee by The Groves in Chester.
Welsh Water stressed the discharges were 'heavily diluted' and the action was allowed by the Environment Agency.