The curious case of the vibrating Meadow Springs house

There were times over the past six months Meadow Springs resident Christoph Potrykus thought he would have a nervous breakdown.

Not only had he and his 76-year-old mother rarely had a full night’s sleep, he fought for months to convince authorities the sewerage pumping station just metres from his bedroom was making his house vibrate so badly it was uninhabitable.

Since moving into the house in Meadow Spring last December, Mr Potrykus said he had called the Water Corporation’s emergency line more than 60 times before engineers assessed the situation and agreed to move him and his mother to serviced accommodation in Halls Head until they fixed the problem.

But Mr Potrykus, who works as an IT consultant, said after extensive work at the pumping station, the problem persists and he is at his wits’ end.

“When we moved into the house, life simply stopped,” he said.

“It was in my mother’s room; it was vibrating day and night – she couldn't sleep for weeks.

“The end of the story was, she collapsed. I had to call the ambulance and she was at Fiona Stanley in intensive care for three days and another day for observation.”

Mr Potrykus said his mother’s hospitalisation helped convince the authorities to take his complaints seriously.

“It was very difficult to convince them to take some action but finally they agreed to move us out of the property,” he said.

Water Corporation engineers work to fix the pumping station outside Mr Potrykus fence. Photo: Supplied.

Water Corporation engineers work to fix the pumping station outside Mr Potrykus fence. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Potrykus said the Water Corporation was initially willing to help them break their lease and moved them to Halls Head in January because the house was uninhabitable and had brought in experts to repair the pump and stop it resonating in the house.

“We returned to the house on the 2nd of July and on the 6th of July I had to call the Water Corp emergency line again because my mother's bedroom was vibrating so vehemently all night until the morning,” he said.

“When you went out, you could hear it outside.

“So, the whole process started again.”

Mr Potrykus said he felt abandoned and desperate and just wanted the problem fixed.

Water Corporation Perth regional manager Garth Walter said the Water Corporation had taken Mr Potrykus’s reports of noise and vibration seriously and had thoroughly investigated his concerns. 

“Water Corporation pump stations need to be located within the communities served because its purpose is to remove wastewater from nearby properties,” Mr Walter said.

“While there are no specific guidelines related to noise and vibrations that apply to the construction of pump stations, we aim to ensure the location does not impact the community. 

“Over the last eight months, we have made significant operational and engineering changes to the station, which have reduced the noise from the station.  Independent testing has also confirmed that both pumps are operating in accordance with design requirements and Australian Standards.”

He said the Water Corporation would now reiterate its offer of assistance in writing to Mr Potrykus for him to further consider.