Burst pipe and main gripe

DOWN … AND OUT: Simon West’s car was pulled out of this sinkhole but it may be a write-off.
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GUS West, 7, reckoned it was the “best day” of hislifewhen he awoke to find his father’s car submerged in the road in Albert Street, Wickham.

His dad Simon wasn’t so impressed.

About 5am on Thursday residentsheard the all too familiar sound of water rising in the street. A watermain had burst directly beneath a car owned byMrWest.

By 6am Hunter Water and police were on the scene, but it was too late forthe car which had already begun its slow descent into the subterranean.

Nina West has lived on Albert Street for five years, the car is her brother’s. Shesaid problems with the water main were ongoing.

NEW LOW: Simon West pictured at the front of his home in Albert Street, Wickham. Pictures: Simone De Peak

“It is not the first time a water main has burst on this street,” Ms West said.

“Talking to the guys at Hunter Water, they said they don’t get enough money to replace the pipes, it’s all just bandage jobs.

“It is going to keep on happening.Something really needs to be done about it. Every time it rains the pipes back-up and there is flooding.”

Patrick Mulroy has lived on Albert Street for 50 years and said this was the third time the street had been flooded due to the water main bursting in recent years.

“Two years ago the place nearly got washed out,” Mr Mulroy said.

STRANDED: The West family were left stranded after their car became submerged after a water main burst.

Gus West spent the morning watching the repair works from the verandahof his family home.

“I think it’s really fun because it’s never happened before,” Gus said. “It’s the best day of my life so far.”

The best part of it all, according to Gus, is he couldn’t get to school because his dad couldn’tdrive him. It is the family’s only car.

The car was pulled free about 9am although it may be a write-off.

“They didn’t believe me at work when I told them I wouldn’t in this morning, that I had a broken water main under my car,’’ Mr West said.

“I sent them in a photo.’’

Hunter Water said a200mm water main broke underground. It is the third“leak” on Albert Street since 2013.

“The pipe appears to have split at the bottom, causingwaterto shoot down washing away soil and causing subsidence,” a spokesman said.

“The exact cause of the break is unknown.

“However pipes sometimes break early in the morning with changing temperatures leading to expansion or contraction of the pipes.”

HunterWater will asses replacing the pipe.

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