Wellington Scoop

No warning for swimmers: raw sewage leaks into Titahi Bay, again

sewage in harbour at titahi bay

A sewage leak into Titahi Bay yesterday – the second this month – was a major health and safety issue, as there was no warning to the local community. Raw sewage was overflowing again from manholes and drains at the north end of Titahi Bay beach.

On 8 November, the Surf Lifesaving Club were hosting a swim carnival, when it was abruptly called off as a large volume of raw sewage began pouring into the sea from drains and manholes at the north end of Titahi Bay beach. There was no notification from the Council. The treatment plant had also overflowed which happens every time there is heavy rain.

Yesterday it happened again.

sewage at titahi bay nov 2020

Sewage overflowed in the same place – the white flecks are dried toilet paper. And the Porirua treatment plant overflowed again, discharging raw sewage from a pipe 500m from the beach. The Surf Lifesaving Club were initially advised that there had been no treatment plant overflow. They tried calling the City Council number (04) 237 5089, as did many in the community throughout the morning, but could not get through.

sewage more at titahi bay

Again there were no warnings from the Porirua City Council or Wellington Water about these potentially harmful incidents in Titahi Bay. But there were plenty of posts on their sites about flooding in Plimmerton.

sign at titahi bay

The sign at Vella Street should also be warning that it is unsafe to swim, as clearly there are ongoing network issues at the north end of Titahi Bay beach. People were swimming and walking on the beach in the afternoon unaware they were walking and swimming in raw sewage.

Porirua City Council continue to say they are frustrated as well, believing there is little they can do as this is a twenty year fix and these infrastructure issues will continue to occur with heavy rain. But heavy rain events are increasing in frequency and Titahi Bay ratepayers say they are entitled to have better systems and data in place so that they can be promptly warned and protected from such poor infrastructure.

They do not accept the Council’s stance that their infrastructure is a twenty-year fix – when Plimmerton and Whitby pipes are promptly repaired or replaced. And the Council are planning to spend $50million each on megalitre storage tanks in Porirua and Plimmerton, rather than replace old, asbestos pipes servicing an overcapacity treatment plant in Titahi Bay. These storage tanks will have little effect with heavy rain events and have no effect at Titahi Bay, which confirms ratepayers view this is bordering on environmental racism.


  1. Willie Mcmahon, 1. December 2020, 7:55

    Twenty years to fix not just Titahi Bay’s sewage problem but Porirua’s sewage problem… Maybe spend the 50 million on fixing Porirua’s real sewage problem – our council.

  2. Sharon Hilling, 1. December 2020, 8:06

    PCC are frustrated because ratepayers have had enough and are finally calling them to be accountable. They have spent ratepayers’ money on unnecessary things, instead of saving a certain amount every year to maintain and upgrade the sewerage system and drainage. The current mayor has been in council for quite a few years and would know that there have been several housing developments built and approved, with no thought for upgrading the overloaded sewerage system and drainage.

  3. Karen Jaquiery, 1. December 2020, 9:07

    The council seem to think they can fob Titahi Bay residents off with endless promises, delays, promises of consultation, more delays, oh hang on … let’s do some consultation now. “What’s that? You haven’t heard from us? Well we’ve met behind closed doors and what d’ya know…sorry the projects not going to fit our budget now. We’ll just apply for a new 20 year permit to release sewage into the sea NEAR WHERE YOU ALL SWIM and with a tide that pushes it into the bay itself”. That seems to be the case for every single major project in Titahi Bay: the walkway/cycle way to the city, fixing the marines hall, the sewage treatment plant. The only things I can think of that have happened in the Bay recently are a few minor exercise bars in Onepoto Park, and the signs at the ends of the beach.

    It does seem like not all areas of Porirua are treated equally. It doesn’t particularly seem like the mayor gives a damn. And beyond saying they will raise it in a meeting it seems like our two councillors voices are very very quiet.

  4. Britina Edwards, 2. December 2020, 5:14

    Anita Baker Fix the sewerage problems asap. This is beyond a joke. A wetland at Elsdon Park has priority (new project) that enhances what??? Waste of money. The sewerage problem has been ongoing and the best you can come up with is that it is a 26 year fix. You are out of your depth Anita Baker. RESIGN.

  5. Ginny, 2. December 2020, 11:48

    The government goes on and on about housing but we continue to have this problem with treatment plants, sewage, and infrastructure. I think the government should come to the party and help so many places in New Zealand with this problem before more houses are built .

  6. Stella, 2. December 2020, 15:59

    The government are also focused on making climate change an emergency when seriously the infrastructure esp sewage treatment plants and storm waterways need to be their priority.
    I’m over this continuing sewage problem esp in Titahi Bay

  7. Eugene Doyle, 3. December 2020, 20:19

    Well done on all the excellent work Michelle and the team in Titahi Bay are doing.