Sewage flows into streets after deluge

Jennifer Virtu discovered raw sewage had overflowed into the pool at her Kembla Street property. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Jennifer Virtu discovered raw sewage had overflowed into the pool at her Kembla Street property. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

When Jennifer Virtu awoke on Tuesday morning, she found her normally crystal-clear pool had become a dirty brown "shade of sewage".

Ms Virtu was one of several Kembla Street residents who were forced to contend with raw sewage flowing through their homes because of Monday night's torrential downpour.

The main properties affected were in the low-lying area on the corner of Kembla and Swan streets, where the water from nearby creeks combined with stormwater run-off and overflowing drains.

"It's the second time in two years," Ms Virtu said, referring to floods in early 2012 that left many in the area with massive clean-up bills.

"We were lucky this time - we got our cars out."

Not everyone was as fortunate.

Evans Street resident Matt Heycott lost his convertible because of the flooding.

"It filled with water, it'll be written off," he said.

His mother, Linda Boyd, said the value of her home had been affected.

"Who would want to buy in a flood zone?

"As it is, you can't build anything here because it's a designated flood zone," she said.

"I'm over insurance - I don't want to do that again."

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery visited Kembla Street to inspect the damage on Tuesday.

He said though Sydney Water controlled the sewerage system, the council would do what it could to help residents.

"I'm talking to council staff at the present time just to again see what we can do," Cr Bradbery said.

"It is a very costly exercise in remediating stormwater situations so ... I can't offer any solution at this point except to revisit the whole issue with our stormwater management people," he said.

"I do empathise with the people in this area but it's also one of the low-lying points of the city and thus it's going to be the place where water will concentrate."

For another Kembla Street resident, Rhys Cochrane, change can't come soon enough. Mr Cochrane said water and sewage had coated his fence during the flooding.

"When we get a big influx ... it just floods the whole backyard," he said.

"Tampons, toilet paper, nappies, anything.

"I think Sydney Water knows what the problem is - the pipes are too small, they can't handle it."

Mr Cochrane said all residents in the area were fed up with having to deal with raw sewage.

"We're sick of it, all the neighbours around here are sick of it.

"You can't have faeces and stuff like that floating in your backyard whenever it rains," he said.

Sydney Water was unable to respond to the Mercury's request for comment before deadline.


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