Port Kembla water main bursts: three homes flooded

Two hours is just not good enough.

That was the message from the Port Kembla residents whose homes flooded while they waited for a Sydney Water crew to respond to a burst water main in their street.

Three Quarry Street properties were flooded shin-deep with water on Tuesday morning as a burst water main was left gushing uncontrollably for several hours.

Resident Bob Parkes awoke after 5am to the sound of running water and didn’t think much of it - until he realised it was sunny outside.

He noticed the burst main and alerted Sydney Water after 5.30am, but became incensed when it took two hours for a crew to arrive and shut off the water.

The workers said they had come from Sydney.

In that time almost a foot of water had flooded his back path and granny flat.

‘‘This is not a point about damage, it’s about why it took two hours to get a water board person here to do a two-minute job of turning off a tap,’’ Mr Parkes said.

‘‘I’m not worried about the water, I’m worried about why Wollongong doesn’t have (its own crew).

‘‘It’s just not good enough for the third biggest city in NSW to be treated so appallingly, like we’re just an outer suburb of Sydney.’’

A second resident, who asked not to be named, said it was a ‘‘real shame’’ that Sydney Water took so long to respond after she called them at 5.30am.

While she waited neighbours helped her to divert some of the water away from the house using woodern planks, but it did not stop her garage and carpeted living area from flooding.

‘‘It was a delayed response from them [Sydney Water],’’ she said.

‘‘The water was still rising (after we called) but thankfully we had help from our neighbours to move the water away from the house.

‘‘Fortunately we were awake at the time or it could have been a lot more drastic.’’

On Tuesday afternoon Sydney Water released a statement saying it received reports of the burst water main at 5.50am, and a technical officer from its ‘‘southern region’’ arrived on scene at 7.30am.

‘‘Unfortunately, a local Illawarra technical officer was not initially available at that early time due to a training course requirement,’’ the statement said.

‘‘A local crew was on site by 8am to work on excavating and repairing the pipe.

‘‘Sydney Water apologises to those residents affected by the main break.’’

Twelve households were without water until 1pm, while the pipe was repaired.

Sydney Water said it needed to investigate further to determine the cause of the break.

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