A stench from the third world

TOILET paper and human waste bubbles to the surface in the driveway, an elderly resident is forced to wash her dishes in a bucket and guests are urged not to flush the toilet.

These are the “third-world” public housing conditions under which Coledale great-grandmother Judith Devnie is living.

When Mrs Devnie noticed water was filling her toilet when she flushed, she immediately called Housing NSW’s maintenance line.

After assessing the blockage, a plumber told Mrs Devnie the whole pipe system would need to be replaced.

What followed was eight weeks of frustration as the 72-year-old called the department every week while the putrid smell in her home grew worse.

Last week a team of plumbers finally arrived at her property.

After digging up eight metres of earth, they told Mrs Devnie they could dig no further because they didn’t have permission from the department.

She must now wait until the new year before permission is sought and work hopefully resumes.

“It’s just disgusting; every plug-hole is blocked, I’m scared to flush the toilet and there’s a disgusting smell everywhere,” Mrs Devnie said.

“Toilet paper is literally floating down my driveway and I’m doing my washing-up in a bucket.

“I’m just so cranky about the delay. Why couldn’t Housing NSW just allow the plumbers permission to finish the job?”

After The Leader contacted Family and Community Services (FACS) last Friday, a department representative was at Mrs Devnie’s home within hours, telling her the work would be completed by today.

“An ... officer attended the site on December 20 and found that currently there is no overflow occurring, and waste water is moving slowly down the line,” a FACS spokesman said.

“The contractor has agreed to vary the work order to remove the bottlebrush tree, and make a small diversion around the chicken shed structure in order to complete the necessary works.”

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