Wellington Scoop
Network

Plumbing fault may be cause of continuing sewage in Titahi Bay

News from Wellington Water
Wellington Water crews today located a plumbing fault in the catchment feeding into Porirua’s Titahi Bay beach and are working to get this fixed. Recent regular monitoring at Titahi Bay beach showed high bacteria counts with signage going up last Thursday recommending against swimming there.

Work is continuing in the catchment to see if any other faults can be found, and water quality testing is continuing daily.

Sunday’s water quality results indicated lower levels of contamination at Titahi Bay Beach, but the warning signage will remain in place as a precaution while work continues to resolve the causes. Our normal protocol for lifting the warning is to have two consecutive days of results within the safe bathing guidelines.

Signs went up saying Titahi Bay Beach was not suitable for swimming or other recreational activity such as fishing or collecting seafood when Wellington Water’s regular monitoring programme returned high bacteria counts on Thursday 12 March

This result triggered a response from Wellington Water’s operational team to investigate the catchment, looking for a potential source of pollution. This process involves collecting and analysing samples from key points in the stormwater network, and the team methodically working their way upstream from the beach, following the trail of contamination.

Causes such as cross-connections from wastewater to stormwater pipes or damaged pipes provide intermittent flows, so contamination is not constant. As a consequence, some issues can lie undetected for years, while tracking faults can take weeks and sometimes has to be delayed as more urgent repairs take priority.

As well as tracking down the sources in the catchment, sampling can only tell us one part of the story, and can change from tide to tide. As stormwater outlets run onto the beach, high tide can pull in the contaminants into the sea meaning we receive a high reading, and low tide can mean there is a lower result.

Late last month high levels of bacteria were found near one of the four stormwater outlets to Titahi Bay beach through Wellington Water’s regular water quality monitoring programme. A broken wastewater pipe connection was identified approximately a kilometre from the beach and fixed the following day, ahead of the Titahi Bay Beach festival.

Wellington Water – March 13
Latest results have indicated that Titahi Bay Beach remains unsuitable for swimming. Warnings will remain in place until daily testing shows that the water quality has returned to safe levels.

Operational crews are continuing to investigate the catchment for potential sources of contamination, which could include residential cross-connections or other network issues.

Wellington.Scoop – March 12
Titahi Bay is polluted again, less than two weeks after the last discovery of contamination in the water. Announcing today’s pollution, Wellington Water was at a loss for words, so it repeated the words which had used in the previous announcement.

News from Wellington Water
Regular water quality monitoring at Titahi Bay has shown an increase in faecal coliforms (which could indicate wastewater contamination) to levels that mean the water is currently considered unsafe for recreational use.

The public is warned against swimming and other recreational activity such as fishing or collecting seafood at Titahi Bay beach. Warning signs have been posted in the area.

These warnings will remain in place until daily testing shows that the water quality has returned to safe levels. We will also keep the public updated via our social media and on our website.

There is no indication the result is related to operations at the nearby Porirua Wastewater Treatment Plant. Operational crews are currently investigating potential sources of contamination, which could include residential cross-connections or other network issues.

Swimming or entering water with potential wastewater contamination can lead to symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or infections of the eyes, ears, nose and throat. If you have any health concerns following contact with the water in this area then contact your doctor or Healthline 0800 611 116.

News from Wellington Water – February 28
Regular water quality monitoring at Titahi Bay has shown an increase in faecal coliforms (which could indicate wastewater contamination) to levels that mean the water is unsafe for recreational use.

The public is warned against swimming and other recreational activity such as fishing or collecting seafood at Titahi Bay beach. Warning signs have been posted in the area.

These warnings will remain in place until daily testing shows that the water quality has returned to safe levels. We will also keep the public updated via our social media and on our website.

There is no indication the result is related to operations at the nearby Porirua Wastewater Treatment Plant. Operational crews are investigating potential sources of contamination, which could include residential cross-connections or other network issues.

Wellington Water’s water quality monitoring programme enables rapid detection and response to contamination events. Response thresholds are deliberately set at precautionary levels in order to minimise public risk.

Swimming or entering water with potential wastewater contamination can lead to symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or infections of the eyes, ears, nose and throat. If you have any health concerns following contact with the water in this area then contact your doctor or Healthline 0800 611 11

UPDATE February 29
Following two consecutive days of sampling results at Titahi Bay within bathing guidelines, we will today be removing warning signs at Titahi Bay Beach. Our operations crew have investigated the catchment, and could not find a source of contamination impacting the beach. We will be continuing with daily sampling for the next week as a precautionary approach.

News from Wellington Water – March 8
Wellington Water has successfully located and repaired a broken pipe that led to increased bacteria levels at Titahi Bay in late February. This underlines the importance of dedicated resource for this work.

Investigations into sources of contamination in streams and coastal water are complex and time-sensitive. Minor local sources such as bird and animal droppings can provide contaminated results, while rainfall dilutes stormwater, potentially making following the contamination trail impossible. Causes such as cross connections from wastewater to stormwater pipes or damaged pipes provide intermittent flows, so contamination is not constant. As a consequence, some issues can lie undetected for years, while tracking faults can take weeks and sometimes has to be delayed as more urgent repairs take priority.

Recognising the positive impact that finding and fixing these problems will have on the city’s harbour and coastal water quality in the long term, the Porirua City Council is planning to fund a dedicated team to focus on this work.

Late last month high levels of bacteria were found near one of the four stormwater outlets to Titahi Bay beach through council-owned Wellington Water’s regular water quality monitoring programme. It led to a public health advisory against recreational bathing and other activities in the area but the all-clear was given two days later when bacteria levels subsequently decreased.

Wellington Water’s investigation team continued to try to identify and resolve possible sources.

Collecting and analysing samples from key points in the stormwater network, the team methodically worked their way upstream from the beach, following the trail of contamination. A broken wastewater pipe connection was identified approximately a kilometre from the beach and fixed the following day, well ahead of the Titahi Bay Festival on Saturday. Wellington Water is continuing to take samples in the area, in case of any other potential sources of contamination.

Wellington Water advises homeowners to engage a plumber to assess unexplained areas of dampness or odour on their property as soon as possible, while tenants should report it to their landlord or property manager.

4 comments:

  1. Kay W, 28. February 2020, 6:28

    As investigations haven’t happened yet, Wellington Water can’t say to us with a straight face that the latest feces leak into ocean is not related to operations at the nearby Porirua Wastewater Treatment Plant.

     
  2. Curtis Nixon, 28. February 2020, 16:07

    When I lived in Moki St, Titahi Bay, I would often walk along the coast next to the sewage treatment plant and outfall. Every time I was walking after heavy rain there was black, nasty-looking waste coming out of the pipe, which is only 10 metres or so from the shore.

    On the plus side seaweed and shellfish are incredibly abundant along this coast . . .

     
  3. Wellington Water, 2. March 2020, 13:07

    We recognise that some in the community are extra concerned but want to reassure everyone that the recent temporary water quality warning for Titahi Bay is not linked in any way to the wastewater treatment plant. The treatment plant is monitored and operating normally. Addressing localised contamination events such as this is the aim of the proposed roving water quality team that PCC is looking to introduce in the new financial year. [via twitter]

     
  4. Quentin S, 2. March 2020, 15:28

    WW that is a contradictory statement and it does nothing to alleviate any of our concerns about how Wellington water services are being run by Wellington Water and the Councils. If there was no local contamination, why are you suggesting the need for another ” roving Wellington water team”. Isn’t that WW trying get more money for unsatisfactory services? And we know despite WW reassurances there has been feces flowing (into the ocean) for quite a while now.

     

Write a comment: