Home flooded by burst main twice in 11 days
KAREN Prestidge and her family were cleaning up again yesterday after a burst water main flooded their home for the second time in 11 days.
Still recovering from the previous flood, Mrs Prestidge couldn't believe it had happened again. Her home and the one next door in Nimerette St, Bellbird Park, were swamped by tonnes of mud and water from a 450mm pipe.
When the pipe that runs behind the houses exploded on Sunday afternoon, it turned the Prestidges' sloping garden into a raging torrent. Water surged down to the house that was the scene of a similar disaster on April 17 after a nearby burst in the pipe.
"Two in 11 days - we're just incredulous," said Mrs Prestidge, a Lifeline counsellor and community recovery co-ordinator who helped people after January's floods.
"The last of the tradesmen finished on Friday and they took away the fans and dehumidifiers.
"I spent all weekend out the back gardening with my four-year-old grandson. I had a friend over and about 3.20 Sunday afternoon she said: 'What's that noise?' I said: 'It sounds just like it did last time, but it can't be.'
"I looked out the back and the water just sheeted in. Because we were airing the place out the doors were open so the water flooded in. Last time it just seeped in. This time there was mud and mulch right through the house.
"The first time you'd just about excuse it as a freak accident; now you don't feel safe in your home any more. If my grandson was out there he would have drowned."
As it was, she lost belongings saved the first time and sentimental items including vases she and her husband collected.
Her husband, who built the house, died six years ago.
She wants compensation from Queensland Urban Utilities, which is responsible for the pipe.
QUU said yesterday it would replace a section of the pipe. Chief operating officer Robin Lewis said water main bursts typically increased in the change of seasons due to underground movement.
"These pipes are only 20 years old and they're designed to last for 50 to 60 years so we're confident this was not to do with the age of the pipe. We'll continue to investigate the root cause," he said.
"We've made financial arrangements to cover the affected residents so that they're not out of pocket while they wait for insurance to cover them."
Cr Paul Tully said QUU was not spending enough money on maintaining Ipswich's water mains and warned there would be more major failures "until QUU gets back to the basics of water supply".