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Treatment plant overflow; no risk to public

7 May 2014

Treatment plant overflow; no risk to public

An overflow from Gisborne’s Waste Water Treatment Plant has been discharged through the 5mm overflow screen and out into Poverty Bay through the outfall pipe. The overflow bypassed the biological trickling filter system.

The overflow occurred after a glitch was discovered in the treatment plant’s main operating system. The glitch has now been fixed and Gisborne District Council will be reviewing its processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

We have spoken with Medical Officer of Health, Bruce Duncan, says regulatory services manager Sarwan Kumar. “Because the wastewater was discharged 1.8km out to sea, the risk to public health is minimal. Council is notifying the public so all beach users can make an informed decision as to whether they want to swim or surf at the moment.”

The current overflow is quite different from the wastewater discharges to rivers that happen from time to time after heavy rain. In these cases wastewater, diluted with rain water, is discharged into city rivers to avoid overflows onto roads and properties.

Council is investing $28m over ten years on Gisborne’s wastewater system renewals and replacements to avoid discharges to rivers.