Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Private pipes blamed for human waste onto Auckland beaches

Private pipes blamed for leaking human waste onto Auckland beaches

Jessie Chiang, Reporter

Illegal or poorly maintained private sewage and stormwater pipes are being blamed for the large amount of human waste polluting Auckland beaches.

beach with public
health warning sign

Milford Beach public health warning. Photo: RNZ / Nikki Mandow

Sewage overflow is an ongoing problem for the city and Auckland Council DNA has been testing about 20 beaches, known to have water quality issues, over the past four years.

Nearly 650 samples were taken and more than half of those showed human sewage contamination.

Ageing wastewater infrastructure has been blamed for the overflow in the past but Anin Nama from Watercare said that was wrong.

"The sources that we've identified to date predominantly tend to be related to people that have cross connected their wastewater to the stormwater, private pipes that have a tendency to fail and leak over time," he said.

"We've got nothing that indicates that Watercare's infrastructure is inadequate."

Mr Nama said their findings from Takapuna Beach are a good example.

"We've identified a toilet block in their private pipes... actually leaching wastewater and entering into the stormwater system and then onto the beach," he said.

"So you know, the positive result that was identified from Takapuna was a direct result of poor private infrastructure and not ageing infrastructure from Watercare."

He said people disposing fats, oils or wetwipes down into sewage systems also causes blockages.

That too, can lead to overflow problems.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mr Nama said Watercare can only do so much.

"If we continually say, 'It's a Watercare issue, it's a Watercare issue', we will not solve the problem," he said.

"[The] majority of the problem will be associated with stuff that should not be getting into our network that is getting into our network by people putting things down."

Nick Vigar from the council's Safeswim branch, which looks at water testing, encouraged anyone with suspected pipe leakages to get in touch.

"There's a fair degree of expense in trying to track these problems," he said.

"We're more than happy if people will come to us and say, 'look, we think there's an issue', absolutely we'll help and resolve that issue with them."

Mr Vigar said the public should make sure they check the Safeswim website, which shows the water quality at beaches, before they go swimming.

He said council has been working hard on identifying and fixing the wastewater issues but it would not be a quick fix.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Binoy Kampmark: Biden’s Victory: A Eunuch Presidency Beckons

Whatever was set to happen on November 3, President Donald J. Trump would not lose. Falling in that establishment firebreak against democracy known as the Electoral College would not erase, let alone repudiate him. His now victorious opponent, far ... More>>

Reese Ehrlich: Foreign Correspondent: The Challenge For Joe Biden

If he’s smart, the likely President-elect will stop the unpopular endless wars and use the money to help our domestic economy. By Reese Erlich I’m pissed. I’m pissed at Donald Trump for trying to shut down the vote count early and at Republicans More>>

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

Gordon Campbell: 22 Short Takes On The US Election

Finally, the long night of Donald Trump’s presidency is over. To date, the courts have been given no cause to conclude that the exhaustively lengthy counts of those mountains of mail ballots was anything other than legal. Stacking the US Supreme ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On How The US Supreme Court Is Undermining American Democracy

If Joe Biden is elected President next week, here comes the bad news. If Biden tries to defend Obamacare, combat climate change (via say, a variant of the Green New Deal) or tries to improve the access of US women to abortion services , he will run afoul ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog