Wellington Scoop

Sewage in the sea – the problem the council can’t fix

It’s not that we’re obsessed by sewage. But sewage is a recurring topic in Wellington. We first reported sewage spilling on to the South Coast in February 2009, just a few months after Wellington.Scoop had been established. Similar reports are being published this week. With the same explanation from the city council – its Moa Point treatment system can’t cope with heavy rain.

This week’s reports tell us that the city council is hoping to avoid a fine that could be as much as $600,000, for what happened on Monday: discharging a maximum of 64 million litres of sewage and stormwater into the sea on the south coast; this was estimated as roughly seven parts stormwater to one part sewage. An “unconsented pipe” was used, after other pipes couldn’t cope.

The council has known about the problems for years. It keeps saying that the cost of fixing things would be too great. Here are examples of some of the problems, and the repeated apologies and excuses, since Wellington.Scoop began.

March 14, 2012
Warnings of sewage contamination at Owhiro Bay

December 31, 2011
Heavy rain causes Moa Point sewage plant to overflow

April 26, 2011
Contamination under Overseas Passenger Terminal

March 1, 2011
More intensive monitoring of stormwater discharges wanted

October 2, 2010
Sewage in Lyall Bay from Moa Point overflow

June 30, 2010
“Vile odours” from Moa Point

April 24, 2010
Two months of sewage problems at Owhiro Bay

December 9, 2009
Sewage pollution at Island Bay

August 27, 2009
The situation isn’t ideal, says council engineer

February 20, 2009
Sewage outflows on South Coast

1 comment:

  1. Stan, 20. May 2013, 13:26

    The Moa Point Waste Water Treatment Plant was designed soley to treat raw sewage. The 1800 metre long outfall can handle a max. of 4500 litres per second of treated sewage prior to being discharged into the ocean. The Short Outfall after discharging raw sewage for close on a century was left in place for situations such as civil emergencies alone. A Resource Consent was not granted to discharge any substance unless Civil Emergency conditions prevailed. It has to be understood that the Treatment Plant was never designed to cope with stormwater flows particularly as experienced on 6th May. WCC has a Consent to discharge partially treated sewage over 3000 litres per second of flow. It must be understood that the normal dry weather flow through the Plant is 800 litres of sewage per second. The ingress of stormwater into the sewage infrastructure is therefore excessive to say the least. WCC has been aware of the cross connections between stormwater and sewage pipes for a long time but has turned a blind eye to putting the matter right. Other expenditure such as non commercially viable ventures have been the priority. The $50 million ASB Indoor Stadium at Kilbirnie as one example. The WCC deserves to be fined for breaching the RMA by discharging raw sewage into Cook Strait without Consent.