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Public sewer clearing complete

31 August 2011

Public sewer clearing complete

Sewer clearing and temporary solutions have restored sewer services in all Christchurch streets.

This means the majority of people who were using chemical or portable toilets after the 22 February and 13 June earthquakes are now able to flush their household toilets.

Christchurch City Council set a target of returning sewer services to all homes by the end of August and contractors have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week since early March to achieve this goal.

Work has been completed on all public sewer pipes, however there are still around 800 houses with damage to their private sewer pipes which needs to be addressed before full service is returned. Contractors have completed 500 such repairs to date and are working with EQC to get these completed as soon as possible. Portable toilets will remain on city streets where they are still needed.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says this is a great milestone for the city’s recovery. “We still have a long way to go, but it is great to see this sort of progress being made. After 22 February, as many as 45,000 households were using chemical or portable toilets, to get that number down so quickly has been a testament to the hard work of staff and contractors working around the clock for our city.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their patience while this work has been ongoing, and for your continued tolerance as we get our city back on its feet. These are challenging times and we have all been through a lot. I admire the resilience of our residents and am proud to be part of such a strong community.”

Council Water and Waste Manager Mark Christison says it was a great achievement to get this far in just six months, particularly with the set-backs caused by the June earthquakes. The round-the-clock jetting and sucking of sewers will reduce to six days per week this week and further reductions in hours of operation will follow.

“Our staff and contractors have been working around the clock to achieve this goal and I’d like to thank them for all their hard work. Our residents have been very patient while this work has been underway and everyone’s efforts have been hugely appreciated.

“Of course, there are some residents in the worst-affected areas of the city that are still using chemical toilets or portable toilets and I understand that this milestone does not help their situation. We have a list of 800 properties where work on private sewer laterals is required and we will do our best to address these issues as quickly as possible. Residents are also using private drainlayers to attend to these repairs and can claim the cost under their earthquake insurance.

“Some residents in the red zone have specifically asked us not to repair their private sewers and will continue to use alternative toilet services until they settle their insurance claims and move away from the area.”

ENDS

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