Watercare launches pipe inspections

INSPECTION: Watercare contractors Michael Thompson and Bernie Wallace demonstrate how the device pushes smoke into the network. Times photo Wayne Martin.

Watercare has launched an inspection of public and private wastewater pipes from every house in Mellons Bay in an effort to reduce wet weather overflows.

The work is part of an Auckland-wide programme to decrease the volume of stormwater entering the wastewater network, which is a major contributor to wet-weather overflows.

Since September last year, wet-weather overflows have been problematic for Mellons Bay residents who have been waiting on Watercare to take action.

In heavy rain, the amount of stormwater that drains from an average single roof is the equivalent to the wastewater flows from more than 40 households, said Watercare network manager Anin Nama.

Residents will be notified via a flyer dropped into their letterbox ahead of time to let them know what to expect.

Watercare teams will be testing wastewater pipes, stormwater downpipes and gully traps from around 2000 houses over the next month using a white, cold, non-toxic smoke to pinpoint problems.

Mr Nama said teams will also carry out a visual property-by-property inspection looking for faults or defects, as there are instances when smoke may not identify the problem.

Last week, 15 faults were found across 200 properties where a completed inspection had taken place.

Any houses identified as being non-compliant or with illegal connections will receive a letter from Watercare and Auckland Council to the property owner requesting the problem to be fixed as soon as possible.

Defect notices will come out within two weeks of inspection, said a Watercare representative.

The council will then seek a statement proving the repairs have been done, or alternatively the property owner can provide council with a photograph as evidence of completion.

Watercare representative Maxine Clayton said she hopes to see property owners step up to do their part toward fixing the problem.

“People tend to think council should do it all…but everyone has a part to play in this,” she said.

Within the month, a new level sensor will also be installed inside a manhole at Mellons Bay beach to provide Watercare with forewarning when an overflow is about to occur.