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Watercare Crews Attending Major Wastewater Pipe Blockage At Tomo Site

The flood and cyclone earlier this year is potentially still impacting our city, with a large tomo having developed on a private property in Parnell. On Monday afternoon, Watercare was alerted to a hole in the ground by a company undertaking work at a site on St Georges Bay Rd, above the Orakei Main Sewer.

This 2.1m-diameter brick sewer, approximately 13 metres underground, serves large parts of central and west Auckland. The top of the wastewater pipe has collapsed.

Watercare chief operations officer Mark Bourne says Watercare took immediate steps yesterday to address this situation, including seeking advice from geotechnical engineers to guide our approach for repairs.

“Our crews worked until early this morning, removing material to strategically widen the tomo, stabilising the ground and preventing further material entering the pipe.

“Unfortunately, the situation has worsened with the sewer becoming completely blocked this morning, which may be causing overflows elsewhere in the network.

“Our crews on site are currently working with a large excavator to further widen the top of the tomo to remove the debris causing the blockage.

“Safety is our number one priority. The ground near the tomo is unstable so we have established an exclusion zone around the site to ensure the safety of the public, staff and contractors.

“We’re working hard to confirm any overflow locations and to minimise any environmental impact as much as possible.

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“As we haven’t yet been able to confirm overflow locations, we have raised black water quality pins on Safeswim and are urging Aucklanders to avoid swimming, fishing and recreational activity in the Waitematā Harbour. Warning signs are currently being erected at all inner-city beaches.

“Once the blockage has been cleared, wastewater will be able to flow through the pipe again and we’ll progress with planning for its repair.

“Safeswim status will be regularly updated.”

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