A sewer overflow was reported to Council this morning, just upstream of the Surrey Street pump station in Picton. As a result of a blockage, effluent flowed out of the manhole at the lowest point, near the entrance to the marina.
Council Operations and Maintenance Engineer Stephen Rooney says that investigations today suggest the old pipe failed as a result of earthquake damage.
“Our contractors found the pipe fully collapsed, just downstream of the Surrey St -Waikawa Road intersection.
“There has been quite heavy rainfall over the last few days and this may have contributed, but the likely primary cause is last year’s earthquake.”
“I advised the Nelson-Marlborough Medical Officer of Health this morning, as well as the organisers of today’s America’s Cup event. We immediately put up signs along the foreshore advising against swimming or collecting shellfish.”
“Our principal concern is children playing in the shallows and then eating food without thoroughly washing their hands. We will have staff on hand to ensure people are aware of the risk and advising folk to wash their hands if they come into contact with water in this area, and especially before consuming food.”
“It’s very unfortunate timing with the celebration today. It’s important we put public health first and let everyone know of the health precaution.”
Council is constructing a $19.45 million upgrade of Picton’s 85-year-old sewerage system, which began in May this year. The upgrade services nearly 2,500 properties in Picton and Waikawa, and provides capacity for population growth.
“The upgrade will lead to a big improvement in water quality and the local marine environment, and reduce the risk to public health,” Mr Rooney says.
The upgrade replaces almost all the old trunk sewer, removes any stormwater connections to the sewer, repairs and replaces failing sewer pipes, and replaces sewage pump stations at Dublin Street, Surrey Street and Fishermans Reserve. It will also upgrade the sewage pump stations at Beach Road and Waikawa Wharf.
A new sewage bypass treatment facility will be built at Dublin Street to treat flows in excess of what can be treated at the Picton sewage treatment plant.
The main benefits of the Picton sewerage upgrade are:
- A reduction in the frequency, duration and volume of sewage overflows
- A reduction in the risk to public health from contact with contaminated water
- An improvement in water quality and the marine environment
- An increase in the capacity of the system
- Provision for the future growth of Picton and Waikawa.
The work is expected to be completed by mid-2018.
There are on-going CCTV checks of Marlborough’s pipe network for earthquake damage.