'It looks like it, it smells like it': Sewage flows on city street
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'It looks like it, it smells like it': Sewage flows on city street

As sewage gushed from a building's pier on a busy Canberra city street on Friday morning, many passersby were shocked and likely put off their breakfast - others, not so much.

The unpleasant plumbing issue has been happening intermittently on the corner of Rudd and Moore streets for months, local retailers say.

Sewage is seen flowing from a building's pier on Moore Street in Canberra city.

Sewage is seen flowing from a building's pier on Moore Street in Canberra city.Credit:Graeme Taylor

Icon Water crews visited the site on Friday morning. They initially found the issue was to do with a blockage or fault in the building's internal drainage network, rather than with the utility company's sewer network.

But a second visit on Friday afternoon made workers unclear about the cause of the problem.

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"We had a crew on site today using a camera to inspect our network and will continue to attend site over the coming days to investigate further," a spokeswoman said.

"We appreciate this is a unpleasant occurrence and we are doing what we can to assist the [building's] plumber in understanding and addressing the fault."

Icon Water had attended the site twice before - in 2017 and 2018 - and found their network to be the cause of the problem.

"There was a blockage in one of Icon Water’s pipes at our Moore Street building," a spokeswoman for Quintessential Equity, which manages the building, said.

"The area was sectioned off and remained safe, and the situation did not impact any tenants.

"The issue has been resolved and the area has been cleared and disinfected."

The first time Graeme Taylor, who works nearby, saw the sewage was in about October last year, he said. A hole in the pier of the building, which is fronted by ANZ Bank, was once covered up with a cap to stop the flow.

The site was cordoned off on Friday morning after Icon Water were alerted to the issue.

The site was cordoned off on Friday morning after Icon Water were alerted to the issue.Credit:Graeme Taylor

But the cap had since burst off and he had seen the sewage another two times: once in December after a period of heavy rainfall and once on the way to work on Friday morning.

"I called the Access Canberra helpline this morning and I was trying to be believable ... the guy I was talking to was incredulous. I said, 'Mate - it looks like it, it smells like it, and it is'," Mr Taylor said.

"They need to figure out what the hell has happened. I've been working on this side of town for about seven years and I've only seen it in the past few months.

"The bottom line is that it needs to be rectified and [the solution] needs to have a permanent effect."

A staff member from Vision City who have a store in the building at 10 Moore Street said they had brought up the problem with management and were told that maintenance was handling it.

A staff member from Audio Clinic Canberra said a couple of customers had noticed the problem and mentioned it when they came in.

"My colleague says it happens every few months," she said. "It stinks."

Cassandra Morgan is a reporter at The Canberra Times. She was previously a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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