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Health warning for city river

January 15, 2012


Health warning for city river

The Community and Public Health Division of Canterbury District Health Board have issued a health warning for the Avon River/ Ōtākaro following a suspected sewer leak.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says there is currently an issue with a sewer main in Richmond resulting in a discharge of untreated wastewater to the Avon River/Ōtākaro in the vicinity of the Swanns Road bridge.

“Water quality in the Avon and Heathcote rivers rarely meets recreational water standards, but at the moment the Avon is particularly contaminated downstream of Swanns Road and contact with water in the river should definitely be avoided,” Dr Humphrey says.

Dr Humphrey says the problem seems to have resulted from ongoing issues with underground wastewater and stormwater pipes damaged during the earthquakes.

“We understand a large depression developed in the road over the top of a stormwater drain in Warwick Street. This dip suggests that the sewer main has been dragged down and broken, and the untreated wastewater is entering at that point,” he says.

Dr Humphrey says while SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) is currently in Warwick Street working on the permanent rebuild of the wastewater network in the area, works are expected to take until mid-2013.

“Thankfully the Christchurch City Council’s maintenance contractors and SCIRT are working closely together to make a temporary repair ahead of the final fix; however we advise that people continue to avoid the river in the meantime until scheduled repairs are completed.”


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