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Working with tenants for sustainable maintenance outcomes

Colleen is a Westside Housing tenant who has had issues with her waste water drainage system for a while now. Westside have had to flush the pipes every 3 months or so, as it backs up. Plumbers have found that the plumbing pipes under her garden had collapsed, resulting in a smaller path for the water and regular blockages.

Westside maintenance then had the option to use a mechanical digger to excavate the 1 meter depth to work on the pipes, between 2 established trees in Colleen’s garden. Colleen, an avid gardener, was not happy with this idea;

These trees are really precious to me. They are established and provide great shade, privacy and protection to the front of my house”.

Maintenance then had to consider alternatives. The plumber suggested high power water excavation, where high pressure water ‘cuts away’ at the ground above the pipes until it reaches the required depth. This is a less invasive method that results in less disturbance to the tree roots and a smaller hole in the ground. Although it will end up costing Westside extra to have the work done using high pressure water jet, Paul, Manager Assets and Development believes it’s a worthwhile investment.

“This is a great outcome, we have happy tenant who obviously loves her garden, and we are able to get the work done to a high standard. There is no guarantee that the trees won’t die, or be put through stress throughout the process, but we have minimized the risk overall”.

Plumbers working on Colleen’s pipes at a depth of 1 metre, after using a water excavation technique to access the damaged section of plumbing.