30 / Sep / 2021

Wellington Water has discovered an unpleasant surprise in a blocked wastewater pipe near State Highway 2, Wellington.

Two items – a piece of pipe and some rags, had lodged themselves tightly in the pipe causing a blockage originally identified on Monday 27 September.

Wellington Water Chief Wastewater Advisor, Steve Hutchison says that it is disappointing to see another blockage caused by un-flushable items in the wastewater network.

“Blockages, such as this one, costs money to fix, puts strain on our teams and is so easily preventable by only flushing the 3-Ps – Poo, Pee and (toilet) Paper” Steve says.

“They cause major impacts to our network. They prevent the pipes from functioning correctly and can cause wastewater overflows that end up in and around our environment.”

Work to identify the cause of cloudy stormwater near BP on SH2 started on Friday 24 September. It was quickly identified that the stormwater had been contaminated by a broken wastewater pipe from Tamworth Crescent, Newlands.

While the pipe was repaired by Sunday 26 September, wastewater continued to leak down from further up the gully due to the blockage.

“The blockage in the pipe wasn’t easy to access,” says Steve.

“We had to use specialist abseiling teams to survey the pipe and had sucker trucks onsite from when the issue was identified to capture the contaminated water in the stream. Overall, it was 6 days before we were able to restore the pipe and leave the site.

“While we expect to see the occasional breaks and blocks in our network, we implore people to use common sense when it comes to what we use the wastewater system for.

“Pipes exist to transport the 3 waters – drinking, waste and stormwater. They’re not built to handle rags, fats and oils, nappies or other pipes!”