WULGURU residents are wading through a "poo-nami" as heavy rainfall continues to fall.

Not even 50mm has to fall before Leanne Dobbin has sewage floating through her backyard.

The Wulguru resident said it began for her in 2017 when she moved into her home, but it' had been going on for decades.

The tropical low off North Queensland's coast has caused the sixth "poo-nami" at Ms Dobbins property since the start of 2021.

But she is not the only one, with a number of Wulguru residents using Ms Dobbin's backyard as an indicator of what is to come.

Ms Dobbins said her situation was marginally better than when she moved in because Townsville City Council had installed a non-return valve, which keeps the situation somewhat at bay, but doesn't totally mitigate the problem.

'They're doing band aid (fixes),'' Ms Dobbins said.

Leanne Dobbin, standing in sewage in her backyard, is one of many Wulguru residents that experiences poonami when the rain comes. Picture: Evan Morgan
Leanne Dobbin, standing in sewage in her backyard, is one of many Wulguru residents that experiences poonami when the rain comes. Picture: Evan Morgan

The poo-nami means many in the community are unable to use toilets or showers because it will make the situation worse.

Resident Sergio Lapico said his wife was forced to shower under the hose before heading to work yesterday (Monday) morning.

Mr Lapico said the infrastructure in Wulguru was severely lacking and not what it should be.

"When they built Annandale and Fairfield, their lines came directly into ours … to go out to Cleveland Bay," he said.

Mr Lapico said the woman who used to live in their home used to "pack her bags and leave" every time it rained, but they were never told there was a problem when they bought the home.

Mr Lapico said they had considered selling, but they would have to disclose the issue or they would be "dishonest" and just "passing the problem onto someone else".

"We love the house we're in, we love where we live, we love our neighbours," he said.

Mayor Jenny Hill urged residents to call Townsville City Council if they were having any issues with sewage.

She said $20m had already been spent on the southern suburbs main and there was still work to do at Wulguru.

"I have some concerns that there is an issue around illegal connections in there so we're doing some work on that," Cr Hill said.

She said part of what was causing the problem was freshwater inflows.

"I have real concerns that people may be draining yards or something using our sewerage network to pump water into there, and not understanding that it is causing real difficulty downstream," Cr Hill said.

Leanne Dobbin is one of many Wulguru residents that experiences poonami when the rain comes. A fountain of sewage in her backyard. Picture: Evan Morgan
Leanne Dobbin is one of many Wulguru residents that experiences poonami when the rain comes. A fountain of sewage in her backyard. Picture: Evan Morgan

"We will do some work around looking for illegal connections over the next few months with smoke tests. But there is still a bit of work that has to be done."

Cr Hill said the council would help clean up if residents experienced issues.

New Division 10 councillor Fran O'Callaghan said she was "shocked" to hear of the issue yesterday (Monday) morning.

"I'll be investigating it to the best of my ability," Cr O'Callaghan said.

Originally published as Poonami inundates back gardens



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