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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 [1]: 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 [2]

April 26, 2011
Contamination under Overseas Passenger Terminal

March 1, 2011
More intensive monitoring of stormwater discharges wanted [3]

October 2, 2010
Sewage in Lyall Bay from Moa Point overflow [4]

June 30, 2010
“Vile odours” from Moa Point [5]

April 24, 2010
Two months of sewage problems at Owhiro Bay [6]

December 9, 2009
Sewage pollution at Island Bay [7]

August 27, 2009
The situation isn’t ideal, says council engineer [8]

February 20, 2009
Sewage outflows on South Coast [9]