Responding when things go wrong

A family whose house suffered extensive damage during a wastewater overflow last December was relocated and safe home in time for Christmas, thanks to a tremendous amount of effort from Watercare staff and contractors.

A blockage in our network, and a non-compliant gully trap, caused wastewater to backfeed into a Mängere property and seep out through the shower and behind the toilet. It damaged the carpets, walls and curtains, leaving the house uninhabitable.

Wastewater networks manager Suzanne Naylor says the first priority was finding safe accommodation for the residents.

“The property was owned by a couple with a four-month-old baby. They didn’t have insurance, so our first priority was making sure they had a safe place to live.

“Our contractors, CityCare, immediately moved the family to a motel and the clean-up began.”

The carpet throughout the house was destroyed and had to be removed. All internal walls showed high moisture content and were re-built, plastered and painted. Curtains were dry-cleaned and new carpet was installed.

A non-return valve has been installed on the property to reduce the risk of a repeat occurrence. The non-compliant gully trap has also been noted on the property’s LIM and we have urged the couple to address it.

Customer liaison officer Mike Hawthorn kept the family up-to-date throughout the rehabilitation project.

“They were living at a local motel since the overflow. They were really happy with the effort we’ve taken to make their home liveable again. We weren’t liable for the incident but we’ve done this for them as a gesture of goodwill.”

Suzanne is thrilled the couple got to spend their first Christmas with their baby at their own home.



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