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‘Stressed’: residents still out of home a month after burst pipe

‘Stressed’: residents still out of home a month after burst pipe DISPLACED: Elermore Vale resident Nick Millward surveying the damage to his Taurus Street unit after it was devastated by a burst water main. Picture: Marina Neil
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IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

Hunter Water managing director Jim Bentley at the Elermore Vale flooding. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

IN A MESS: Elermore Vale townhouse complex devastated after water main rupture. Pictures: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookNewcastle Heraldthey had become increasingly anxious in the wake of the September 22 burst, which sent a torrent of water into multiple units on Taurus Street, trapping some residents and causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Hunter Water offered all who needed it temporary accommodation at no cost to residents.

However, according to correspondence seen by theHerald, that accommodation is due to expire on November 4, with residents told they would need to find alternate living arrangements.Residents were also given an initial9-day window to attain quotations for furniture claims over the value of $500.

Rent gap assistance–the cost of the new accommodation minus their original rent–would still be offered to residents.

BLOW-OUT: This unit succumbed to the water pressure. Picture: Marina Neil

However, traumatised residents said they felt the utility was“putting us under even more stress than we’re already experiencing”.

They said the utility’s request for residents to find new accommodation by November 4 was unrealistic.

“How can they expect us to do that in such a short time?” resident Nick Millward said.

“Even if we were to find a rental by that date, a lotof us have no furniture and there’s very few places that rent on a short-term basis.”

Other residents saidthey were still traumatised by the early-morning emergency.

At least one resident has sought professional help and children have struggled.

“It was very traumatic for us, and it still is for a lot of us,” one resident said.“I don’t think they [Hunter Water] understand how traumatising it was. They just need to understand that a bit better. None of this was our fault.”

ROUGH SLEEP: Residents were awoken by water lapping at their windows. Picture: Marina Neil

AfterHeraldinquiries on Friday, Hunter Water said it would make sure no one was left homeless.

“In terms of temporary accommodation, we want to help get people into their own, long term homes as soon as possible,” a spokesman said.“In the meantime however, we’re not going to allow a situation where a person has nowhere to stay.

“Hunter Water remains committed to supporting each individual affected by the Elermore Vale break in getting them back on their feet and to life as normal.”

A two-week extension was granted to allow residents to finalise claims.

“While it may be difficult providing these details, the sooner it happens, the sooner we can finalise claims and make ground on getting life back to normal for these residents,” hesaid.