Cracking up: East Lismore resident Bert Gibbs points to cracks in his walls caused by water damage beneath his house due to an underground drilling operation for new sewerage pipes.
Cracking up: East Lismore resident Bert Gibbs points to cracks in his walls caused by water damage beneath his house due to an underground drilling operation for new sewerage pipes. Jerad Williams

Grey sludge invades Lismore home

SOUTH Lismore resident Bert Gibbs got the shock of his life when a grey sludge began pouring up through the cracks in the slab under his Elliot Road house about 5pm on Friday afternoon.

“It was messy stuff,” he said.

“At first my wife thought something was leaking from the car but by the time the workers came over to have a look it had spread right through to the other side.

But it turned out to be a mix of clay and water from underground drilling operations for new sewerage lines being carried out by contractors, CD Operations, for Lismore City Council 10 metres under Elliot Road.

Drilling supervisor Jason Coe said such incidents occasionally occurred when drilling through such sub-soil.

“Water will always follow the path of least resistance as happened in this case,” Mr Coe said.

“It was unfortunate but this is a more environmentally friendly way of doing these jobs and far more convenient for residents.”

Mr Gibbs said workers from the drilling company spent about two hours cleaning up the slurry under his house.

Workers sandbagged various deposits of slurry before pumping them out and removing the material in their own tanker, with the assistance of another tanker from Summerland Waste.

“They were here till well after dark,” he said.

But since then a series of cracks had appeared throughout his house and now several doors wouldn’t close properly.

“I knew something was up earlier in the day because I couldn’t lock the front door,” Mr Gibbs said.

“Now an internal door won’t close and another one will not latch properly.”

Mr Coe said he could not comment on the cracks and other problems until he had seen them.

He intends to inspect the damage this week.

According to Elliot Street mechanic, Mick Bill of MKB Automotive, the slurry appeared at several locations along the street leading many people to think someone had been dumping concrete slurry.

The drilling contractors worked till about 7pm to clean up all the sludge.

According to Mr Coe, the material was completely safe and there was no risk to the community.

Drilling is 80 per cent complete and is being carried out from both ends of Elliot Street.

The two 600 metre sections will link up in the middle.



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