Wellington Scoop

Bad smells expected, as broken sewage pipelines investigated

The council-owned Wellington Water company says it is continuing investigations into the broken sewage pipelines in the tunnel under Mt Albert. As part of these investigations, it is testing air valves along the pipelines.

Then comes a warning:

“These investigations may result in noticeable odour areas surrounding the tunnel.

“We apologise for any odour issues that arise as part of this work.”

News from Wellington Water – January 28
Trucks continue their operations 24/7, transporting sludge from the Moa Point treatment plant to the southern landfill. The drivers have been greeted with a positive response from the community.

We have begun CCTV through the Mt Albert tunnel, which is an essential part to our investigations, helping us to understand the extent of the fault and look into solutions for the long term repair.

News from Wellington Water – January 27
Trucks continue to work around the clock, transporting sludge from Moa Point to the landfill. We have managed to reduce the number of trucks and still continue to keep up with demand, meaning we are avoiding discharge into the Cook Strait.

We understand truck movements may be inconvenient to residents along the route, and we thank them for their understanding. We are briefing truck drivers to ensure they are keeping themselves and the public safe by reducing their speed.

Wellington.Scoop – January 24
The collapse of another Wellington Water sewage pipe – this one on Wellington’s south coast – means trucks will be hauling millions of litres of sludge every day from the Moa Point treatment plant to the southern landfill. There will be up to 150 round trips every day, for at least four weeks. The emergency is expected to cost ratepayers $200,000 each week.

The latest failure, which happened last week, occurred in the Mt Albert sewer tunnel – part of a 9km pipeline that links the treatment plant with the Southern Landfill.

Trucking sludge is an attempt to prevent wastewater having to be discharged into Cook Strait, but Wellington Water has warned a repair could be more than a month away. RNZ quotes Wellington Water chief wastewater advisor Steve Hutchison as saying:

“The complications are that the pipes that need repair are encased in concrete in the base of the sewer tunnel… so we have to arrange for that flow to be bypassed.” Hutchison emphasised this would be a temporary fix – work was underway to plan a repair with a temporary bypass, as well as a long-term fix.

He said they may need to operate around the clock at times to keep up with the volume – about a million litres each day.

While there was some heightened risk of infection with sewage being moved above grounds, hygiene was being handled carefully among truck drivers, and all trucks would be closed.

News from Wellington Water
The operation was today refined by reducing the amount of trucks on the road and splitting them into two shifts of 6-7 trucks each. These trucks are continuing to keep up with demand, and are operating efficiently.

The fault in the pipeline was located yesterday, and we are continuing to plan a repair with a temporary bypass, as well as a long term fix. The location appears to be about 200m inside the tunnel under Mt Albert.