Fitzroy River Water staff smoke testing drains in North Rockhampton.
Fitzroy River Water staff smoke testing drains in North Rockhampton. Sharyn Oneill

Smells like trouble in next storm

STORMWATER and sewage shouldn't mix – and 10 homeowners have been put on notice to separate them or face the consequences.

More are bound to follow as Fitzroy River Water staff press ahead with a smoke-testing program in the city's suburbs to reveal those who have illegally connected their stormwater drains to the sewerage system.

For years the city has been plagued with what officials euphemistically describe as “surcharges” in times of heavy rainfall. That's when the sewers can't cope with the flow and some poor unfortunates are blighted with sewage bubbling up into their yards, or in some cases, homes.

Smoke testing has so far revealed breaches in Berserker and Koongal and property owners can expect to receive notices requiring them to prevent roof water and rain run-off entering the underground sewers.

“It only takes half a dozen houses on a sewer line to direct water into the sewer system to create unpleasant sewer discharge for houses further down the line,” said Cr Greg Belz, who chairs the council's water committee.

He says the $57,500 cost to smoke-out the culprits is money well spent.

FRW teams are currently testing in Wandal and later this month they'll turn their attention to Park Avenue where testing will be carried out from June 21 to 30.

It will concentrate on an area bounded by Richardson Road, Yaamba Road and Farm Street.

Cr Belz said in all cases residents found to be directing their storm water into sewers would be given time to fix the problem.

But he also warned council would prosecute those who refused to do the right thing.

“It is important that these problems are fixed,” Cr Belz said.



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