POTTY HUMOUR: Council workers Dean Watson, Robert Pyne and Trevor Foster battle the elements while repairing a collapsed sewer main next to Richmond River High School on Tuesday.
POTTY HUMOUR: Council workers Dean Watson, Robert Pyne and Trevor Foster battle the elements while repairing a collapsed sewer main next to Richmond River High School on Tuesday. Dominic Feain

Dunnies down during deluge

IT WASN'T quite a case of the proverbial sh*t hitting the fan, but the poo jokes were flying thick and fast at Richmond River High School on Tuesday.

A collapsed downstream sewer main caused more than a few headaches for Lismore City Council workers and school staff as students returned to classes after last week's flood.

A bemused acting principal, Mary Jane Pell, confirmed Lismore's lowest-lying school - which remained closed on Monday while flood waters receded - spared students the "agony" of another day off by bringing in a bunch of porta-loos.

"It's really a council matter rather than a school issue but council staff have been absolutely wonderful," she said.

Lismore City Council executive director of infrastructure services Garry Hemsworth said there was no health risk at the school and council staff had arranged the porta-loos to reduce the effluent flow during repairs.

"Where it was collapsed was under water so it was hard for staff to access," he said. "It wasn't a full blockage so it didn't look like it would back up and the porta-loos were just a precautionary measure.

"We will run a CCTV camera up that line - typically when we get one break it's indicative of others."

Sure enough, workers encountered a second collapse but were further hampered on the day as a downpour flooded the excavated section, and later as resources were diverted to an overturned sewerage truck in Ballina - but they did manage to get the school's toilets back online by lunchtime.


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