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Published 13/09/2019

Update on dry weather discharge from Porirua Wastewater Treatment Plant

As a result of an accidental discharge of wastewater to the sea in October 2018, Wellington Water was today fined $67,500 in the Environment Court in Wellington.

Chief Executive Colin Crampton, who was in court to hear the sentence, said he was very sorry for the discharge, which saw about a thousand cubic metres of wastewater material enter the sea off Rukutane Point.

“We apologise again to mana whenua, Ngati Toa, and to the wider community for this event, which should not have happened. Communities trust Wellington Water to help protect their water, and on this occasion, we let them down,” Mr Crampton said.

“We had worked hard to improve the performance of this plant over the past five years, so this mistake was really disappointing.”

As a result, several process improvements had been introduced, staff had received additional training, and a new alarm system installed at the plant. Plant operations were now being managed by Veolia, an international water treatment plant manager which has successfully operated the region’s largest treatment plant at Moa Point, Wellington since 2005.

“In addition, Porirua City Council has committed $6m in capital improvements at the plant over the next two years.”

Wellington Water is also committed to being more transparent around how the Porirua Wastewater Treatment plant performs.  Following a public meeting in Titahi Bay, an open day for interested parties will be held at the plant.

Mr Crampton said Wellington Water would work with the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Ngāti Toa on ways to best apply money from the fine towards sustainable support of environmental initiatives in Porirua.

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