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Canterbury Health Warning -Sewage Discharge to Kaiapoi River

August 26, 2011

Health Warning - Sewage Discharge to Kaiapoi River

Recreational fishermen are being warned to avoid fishing the lower reaches of the Waimakariri after heavy rain or snow fall.

The Waimakariri District Council has recently advised of a sewage discharge into the Kaiapoi River. This was due to the significant snow melt and rainfall events of last week.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the council was not discharging sewage into waterways but because of the fragile state of the sewerage infrastructure in Kaiapoi, Pines Beach and Kairaki – especially in periods of high rainfall and where flooding can occur – it is likely sewage will enter the waterways, particulary at Kaiapoi and Pines Beach.

“This means that fishing including whitebaiting in the Kaiapoi River and the lower reaches of the Waimakariri River should be avoided after 48 hours of heavy rainfall, or snow,” Dr Humphrey says.

“It is important that local whitebaiters heed warnings against fishing after sewage discharges.”

The Waimakariri District Council website – www.waimakariri.govt.nz has the most up to date information on the recent sewage discharges into the Kaiapoi River.

“Recreational users of the waterways in the Waimakariri district should refer to this website prior to undertaking fishing and other recreational activities,” Dr Humphrey says.

This warning is in addition to the existing warnings in place for other Canterbury waterways. The Avon/Otakaro and Heathcote/Opawaho rivers and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai are not suitable for fishing (including whitebaiting) because of the ongoing discharges of raw sewage into them.

“We ask anyone who sees people whitebaiting on the Avon and Heathcote to notify the Police so these people can be reminded of the risk and moved along,” Dr Humphreys says.

The public are also advised to:
• Not drink water from the rivers
• Not use the rivers or estuary for recreational use , including swimming or boating
• Avoid physical contact with water in these waterways

ENDS

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