Wellington Scoop

Sewage discharged into Lyall Bay; heavy rain causes overflow at Moa Point

Partially-treated sewage from the Moa Point treatment plant was discharged into the sea off Lyall Bay on Thursday. The city council-owned Capacity Infrastructure company reports that the discharge “consisted of a mixture of fully and partially treated sewage from the long ocean outfall.” The discharge continued for almost nine hours, and was due to the heavy rainfall.

And there was a lot of it:
maximum flow: 3,742 litres per second
treated volume: 103,195 cubic metres
partially treated: 9,431 cubic metres
dilution ratio: 11:1

Jim Mikoz comments:
When they say partially treated: if you collected it in a coke bottle, as I did in the Waiwhetu stream after it flowed from the emergency pipe, there are so many bits and pieces of shit you couldn’t see through the bottle.

This why we took the Wellington City Council to the Environment Court, and this is why the council cannot find the cause of the Island Bay and Owhiro Bay sewage pollution – it is coming from their own sewage pipe situated well inside Lyall Bay. It flows with tide and wind in a southerly wind onto the beaches. The WCC obtained a resource consent to do it for 35 years and we were the only group to oppose it, not DOC or F&B who proposed the marine reserve. If you think the pollution of Owhiro Bay beach is bad, then when they get big flows like this get on a hill and watch it circulate into Lyall Bay where they surf.

The outfall pipe is 1800 metres from the bay in front of the plant. They had another 1000 metres of pipe to lay, but that went back after a southerly pushed the barge around and caused the pipe to break. This resulted in the outfall being inside Lyall Bay and only 600 metres from the marine reserve.

Now the city council have made a Resource Consent application to dump road runoff and stormwater into the reserve for ten years. They send massive quantities of stormwater into the sewage plant so that it overflows its treating capacity whenever it rains. DOC has said nothing to protect the reserve or support our request to get another pipe laid to discharge in water 50 metres deep.

We can see the impact of chemicals and the massive stormwater flows as the once massive bladder kelp beds in Lyall Bay are disappearing.

Jim Mikoz is vice-president of the Wellington Recreational Marine Fishers Association.