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Sydney Water’s frontline staff have been taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown period to deliver repair and upgrade projects.

Frontline crews have worked successfully throughout the past year responding to the impact of drought. Prolonged dry spells caused soil movement, which led to a contraction of pipes in the ground and an increase in damage to the network.

The recent rainfall has brought new challenges, with heavy rain triggering a landslip in Wentworthville, near Parramatta, eroding the Toongabbie Creek embankment.

John Daoud, Incident Site Manager, said, “We attended the site immediately to investigate, and found a wastewater carrier had been impacted by the erosion of the creek bank.

“We quickly mobilised our equipment on site, set up a bypass to protect the environment and connect with the existing wastewater while we worked to identify a permanent fix of the pipes. 

“This is just a snapshot of what we do every day – while most people are in self-isolation, our work didn’t stop because of COVID-19.”

Sydney Water crews are taking advantage of the quiet streets, particularly in the CBD, to prioritise repair and upgrade projects.

This work includes replacing a number of valves which under normal circumstances would be difficult to complete due to traffic and customer impacts.

Head of Program Delivery, Mark Simister, said, “Network projects are also seizing the opportunity of the quieter streets to do work which might normally be disruptive.

“We are being as agile as possible in the way we program our works so we can minimise the impacts of the projects to customers now and once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“This work includes upgrades to parts of the stormwater network throughout the city, along with road restoration work as part of Refresh Woolloomooloo.”

Sydney Water’s award-winning contact centre has trialled new software which has enabled its staff to be able to work from home and continue to provide services to its customers. 

General Manager Customer Services, Kathy Hourigan, said, “The lockdown has presented us with the opportunity to fast-track technology to enable our Contact Centre, Customer Hub and Customer Care teams to receive call customer phone enquiries at home.

“Our contact centre is continuing to offer advice on the range of financial support programs we have available to ensure our customers have resources to pay their bills.”

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