Community & Business

1 February, 2024

Neighbourhood plagued by smelly sewerage woes

RESIDENTS on Constance Street in Mareeba were confronted with the unpleasant sight of human faeces and used toilet paper on the road during heavy rain which caused the nearby sewerage to overflow.

Constance Street residents Dianne Breedin and Derek (last name withheld) are fed up with the sewerage issues in their neighbourhood.
Constance Street residents Dianne Breedin and Derek (last name withheld) are fed up with the sewerage issues in their neighbourhood.

Residents Dianne Breedin and Derek (last name withheld) have spent the past 18 months complaining to Mareeba Shire Council about the ongoing sewerage issue and claim they have had no response. 

They say the sewerage bubbles up after an hour or two of steady rain, and during the recent flooding event, faeces and toilet paper could be seen in the sewerage water. 

Despite making complaints to the council “every other day, " Derek said nothing had been done to fix the situation. 

“I have been calling up and asking for several departments, and I even met one of their after-hours guys at the coffee shop and spoke to him about it,” he said. 

“When I spoke to the after-hours guys, he said everybody knew about it. They all knew about Constance Street’s sewerage issues.

“I saw him around New Year's, and I said to him, ‘Look mate, I know it's New Year's, but can you at least put some barricading up because there are kids riding push bikes down the driveways through that?’”

Red tape has since been placed around the sewerage, but the intense smell is still prominent in the neighbourhood, and stains can be seen on the road from faeces and toilet paper.

Dianne and her partner have only been living in Constance Street for the past eight months, but the ongoing sewerage issues have caused her to consider moving out. 

She says she feels unsafe having her grandchildren visit, worrying they will walk through the sewerage and get an infection. 

“It is absolutely disgusting, between the smell and the toilet paper and this terrible stink when you hop in the pool around one or two in the afternoon,” she said. 

“If it doesn’t get any better, I told Jake (her partner), we are going to have to sell because it’s embarrassing, honestly.

“There is something about the corner of the carport, and in the backyard, and every time the kids could come over, they would say ‘what the heck is that smell?’ – it’s not an environment for kids.”

A Mareeba Shire Council spokesperson confirmed there was an issue with the sewerage system between Constance Street and Lloyd Street due to increased stormwater and its impact on the ageing pipes. 

“The sewer pipeline runs along Constance Street and connects at Lloyd Street, Mareeba, next to the hospital, where there has been a major failure impacting the entire network,” the spokesperson said.

“Upgrades to the sewer pipeline are planned for this financial year, and council is working on a long-term solution for this section on Mareeba and the upgrading of the sewer main capacity.

“Council apologises for the inconvenience caused and thanks the community for their understanding while repairs are done.”

The spokesperson said they would also start conducting sewer fogging - a technique designed to identify leaks or unauthorised connections that may be allowing stormwater to pass into the sewer network – next financial year.

“Illegal connections from people’s down pipes to sewer system create a lot of these overflows, and the fogging will identify these points,” the spokesperson said. 


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