Bogged down: residents left high and dry

Some of the residents whose subsidised pump-out service ceased on Monday.
Some of the residents whose subsidised pump-out service ceased on Monday.

Seventy-two Mountains residents have been left to find their own way to dispose of their sewage after Sydney Water on Monday cut off a years-long subsidy for regular pump-outs.

The residents said they felt abandoned, snubbed and disillusioned, facing bills - of up to $10,000 a year - that they simply can't pay.

Craig Sinclair, from Wentworth Falls, who only bought his house a year ago, said council had quoted him $7500 a year to continue the pump-out service without the subsidy. He said there were only two people in his household but others with families would probably have to pay more.

Mr Sinclair said he had been writing to Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage and to the Water Minister Kevin Humphries but no-one seemed able to help.

Mrs Sage said she had been lobbying Mr Humphries but that had failed to produce an "improved outcome" for the affected residents.

"It was my genuine hope that Sydney Water and the government could develop an option which would make this transition period easier for residents and that is why I continued to work with the minister right up until the final days of the subsidy. I am bitterly disappointed this did not eventuate," she said.

"The non-connection of these properties to the sewerage system has been known to all authorities - Sydney Water, Blue Mountains City Council and the government of the day - for many years and unfortunately no long-lasting solution had been developed."

Mrs Sage promised to "continue to work to assist them in any way I can".

But another resident, Dave Lynch, also from Wentworth Falls, said he felt let down by the MP.

"She said the minister was very sympathetic, he had tried but to no avail. One of the things I would like to know is what has she actually done?"

Council discussed the issue at its meeting last week, with some impassioned speeches made.

Clr Romola Hollywood said the residents deserved some answers.

"The Minister and the local member haven't explained why it is fair that residents have to pick up the cost ... when their neighbours next door are provided with sewage (connection) and Sydney Water has made a $4 million profit."

Clr Don McGregor said he knew of one resident who has bought a motor home because he doesn't know if he can afford to keep living on his property without the subsidy.

"I'm fed up to the back teeth with this and I think it's appalling," he said.

The mayor, Clr Mark Greenhill, said repeated requests to meet the minister had been ignored.

"No response has been forthcoming, [only] total silence and no respect for the environment, no respect for the people involved," he said.

The residents have now received a letter from Sydney Water telling them it would look further at a number of options and get back to them with a detailed quote by December.


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