Nicholas Falconer

Drains fail to cope with run-off

THE massive quantity of water that poured through the North Bellingen Medical Practice and across Wheatley Street came as a shock to Brenda Mitchell.

The practice manager said there had never been water through the surgery in previous floods.

Long-time resident and neighbour, Gordon Jacob, said old drains unable to cope with run-off from the increased number of houses along Lyon Street was the reason for the problem.

“The water simply can't get away anymore.

“The council really needs to do something because 2BBB and the surgery had major problems.”

Mr Jacobs said his wife, Barbara, had lived in their home most of her life and recalls the water only reaching the back steps during the 1950's floods.

“Now that water flows right through our back shed.”

Bellingen Shire Council's director of engineering Mike Edsall said the council was well aware of the problem but 'didn't have a solution as yet'.

“Previously the drain was being blocked by debris and we removed the grate in the carpark to help ease that,” Mr Edsall said.

“This time the drain just simply could not deal with the amount of water. It's something we'll certainly be trying to solve.”

Residents in Kenny Close, who have been complaining of a blocked drain for some time, witnessed faecal matter overflowing from a nearby manhole during the flood.

“There's an embankment there that acts as a dam in heavy rains with water backing up into the stormwater channel and over into houses,” one resident said.

“But there seems to be a design flaw with the size of the pipe.”

Mr Edsall said there had been a blockage in that particular drain previously.

“We cleared it but the task of putting camera up the sewer mains to see why it blocks repeatedly is still outstanding.

“The job is on the operator's list of things to do.”

He said a significant number of sewerage overflows were reported to the Environmental Protection Authority after the flood.

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