Bellambi burst main: Sydney Water denies bypassing local crews

Sydney Water has rejected claims Sydney repair crews are being sent to fix broken pipes in the region while Illawarra crews are overlooked.

The issue was raised again on Thursday morning as Wollongong experienced its second burst water main in as many weeks.

Early on Thursday, a main on Rothery Street, Bellambi, about 10 metres from the entrance to Whitby Mews, burst.

Nearby residents said it sent a geyser of water into the air.

Water from the burst main ran down Rothery Street, into Robert Cram Drive and out along the bike path, forcing morning cyclists to pedal through a long puddle of water.

On Tuesday, April 15, a main burst in Quarry Street, Port Kembla, leading to at least three properties being flooded by shin-deep water.

In both instances, crews from Sydney were sent to work on the leak. Sydney Water previously said an Illawarra technician was not initially available, so one from elsewhere in the "southern area" - which includes Daceyville, Miranda and Unanderra depots - was sent to the site.

Workers at the Bellambi leak at 9am on Thursday said they were from Sydney. However, a Sydney Water spokesman said they were not the first team sent to the job.

"A South Coast crew was dispatched from the Unanderra depot this morning to investigate the burst water main at Rothery Street, Bellambi, after it was reported at 1.05am," the spokesman said.

"The crew arrived on site at Rothery Road at 1.30am. This crew was relieved at 3.30am, conforming with Sydney Water's safe work practices."

The spokesman added that it was Sydney Water's preference that crews based at the Unanderra depot respond to callouts in the Illawarra. He also rejected the suggestion that Illawarra-based crews were being overlooked with a view to eventually justifying the depot's closure.

"Unanderra depot crews are being assigned jobs and there is no intention to close down the Unanderra depot.

"Crews based at the Unanderra depot are often dispatched to repair jobs in other locations in the Sydney Water southern area outside the Illawarra when demand for repair jobs in the Illawarra is less than the supply of repair crews," the spokesman said.

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