Toilets in Lithgow, New South Wales have been overflowing with the town’s raw sewage during heavy rain.
Residents of the area known as Extension Estate experience their bathrooms flooding with brown water, faeces, and toilet paper.
Locals have described it as “smelly”, “stinking”, and “filthy”.
It is believed that the prospect of rain causes “panic”.
The Lithgow City Council says it is caused by a combination of extreme weather and a “very ancient” wastewater infrastructure.
Extension Estate is the lowest and final point that the area’s sewage flows through before it reaches the treatment plant, according to the council.
Recently, the facility has been receiving more than twice the amount of wastewater flow during wet weather.
“The analogy is like a highway where all the congested roads lead in, and at those points you’ll get a choke point, and that’s what we’re experiencing here,” said the council’s general manager, Craig Butler.
He recognised that the system is overwhelmed and does not meet community expectations.
Lithgow City Council plans to spend $7.7 million this financial year to upgrade the infrastructure.
However, Butler believes that it will likely cost around $70 million.
“We are working tirelessly and within our capacity to upgrade our sewerage systems as rapidly as possible,” said Butler.
“But it will be a multi-year project, [which] will require investment from other levels of government.”