DON'T ask how Helen Taylor's garden grows. It's certainly not a method recommended in any gardening book.
The Sarina resident, who has spent years urging Mackay Regional Council to fix faulty infrastructure that leaves her yard covered in sewage after a downpour, was growing 'every sort of tomato you could imagine' a couple of years ago but never planted any seeds.
Linda Ratkovic talks about the sewage problem around her home
Instead, it was sewage carrying undigested tomato seeds that enabled the plants to take root.
"I picked one of the tomatoes once and thought, 'Can I do this?' But I couldn't bring myself to eat them," she said.
"I thought they were weeds at first. But then I realised they were tomatoes and realised how they got here, because I've seen tomatoes growing near sewage treatment plants before."
Tramway Hotel owner Ted Swain talks about how the sewage affects his business
Although she decided to get rid of the tomato plants a while ago, sewage again covered the Elizabeth St resident's garden yesterday following weekend rain.
Clumps of toilet paper lay on the grass and around pot plants.
"Council have been out this morning and sprayed disinfectant everywhere," Ms Taylor said.
"And they brought a port-a-loo out for me on Saturday.
"But what council really needs to do is spend the money to fix the Sarina sewerage system. I've been here 10 years and it's always been a problem."
Mackay Regional Council chief operating officer water and waste services David Brooker said the problem "wouldn't be fixed tomorrow".
But he said the issue was finding what caused sewage leaks, rather than a lack of funding.
"It's partly due to legacy issues. Some of this sewerage infrastructure doesn't meet present day standards," Mr Brooker said.
He also confirmed "there were relief points in the sewerage network that could overflow into storm water".
In wet weather he said this was not a public health concern because the raw sewage was so diluted.
- Sarina 124mm
- Mackay 113mm
- Moranbah 4.6mm
- Dysart 21mm
- Proserpine 15mm
- Calen 137mm
- Bowen 16mm
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