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Smelly issue

Sydney Water work on improving the pipes in Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Potts Point. Photo: supplied.


Residents can wave goodbye to the bad smells floating through the streets of Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Potts Point because the water pipes are finally getting fixed.

With only one pipe carrying both wastewater and stormwater, bad odours became present and during heavy rain and the wastewater would overflow into Woolloomooloo Bay.

East Sydney Neighbourhood Association member, Jane Anderson said, “For over 25 years, we have had bad odours from the drains on Liverpool St at the corner of Riley. My neighbour used to get raw sewerage in his basement, so it’s essential work.”

Sydney Water aims to get rid of the bad odours by replacing the current combined pipe with two new pipes, one which will carry wastewater straight to the treatment plant at Bondi, and the other which will take only the stormwater into Woolloomooloo Bay, ensuring it remains clean.

A spokesman for Sydney Water said, “Refresh Woolloomooloo is a major investment by Sydney Water to improve public health and the environment for customers in the Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Potts Point area.”

“The Woolloomooloo system is the only large remaining combined system in Sydney and Sydney Water is working to separate the network into dedicated wastewater and stormwater collection systems in Woolloomooloo.”
After tearing out the old pipes, they will be laying almost five kilometres of new wastewater and stormwater pipes which will then be connected to over 200 properties.

One hundred and forty new maintenance holes will be built, along with four trash traps to collect and prevent rubbish from going through the stormwater drains.

“Sydney Water has listened to the community and when we’ve finished, Woolloomooloo will have new pipes, odours will be significantly reduced and stormwater flowing into Woolloomooloo Bay will be cleaner,” a spokesman of Sydney Water said.

Locals are relieved that the water pipes are finally being replaced, but many are still angry that it has taken them so long to act.

“It’s an utter joke that they are saying ‘we listened to you’ because it’s taken over 20 years to get any action! When we first moved here in 1989, the block across was a garage with about five workers, probably having a pee each per day. Now its 50 apartments with hundreds of people peeing, showering and washing clothes and that is the same story throughout the neighbourhood all using infrastructure built over a hundred years ago,”Ms Anderson said.

With such a large number of people in the area and an ineffective water system, it’s no surprise residents are annoyed. But because the drains are so old, it can be difficult to locate the water pipes and word has it that the construction is “a mess, and if you factor in the light rail fiasco, the disturbance is excruciating on top of all the construction and other noise,” Ms Anderson said.

“As the network was built in the 1800’s and is laid among other infrastructure, our crews are working to the highest standard to safely investigate and install new infrastructure for the project,” a spokesman of Sydney Water stated. “Sydney Water crews are some of the best in the business and are making every effort to minimise disruption to customers as we work through each stage of the investigation and construction.”

The four areas where the drains will be replaced is Stream Street in Woolloomooloo (including Sir John Young Crescent and Crown Street), Forbes Street in Darlinghurst, Riley Street in Woolloomooloo (including Liverpool Street, Burton Street and Francis Lane) and finally, Darlinghurst Road (including Womerah Avenue and Brougham Lane.)

“The project is about 50 per cent complete and Sydney Water is on track to complete the project by late 2019,” a spokesman from Sydney Water said.

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