Neighbours' sewage floods yard

20:04, Mar 10 2014
Richard Kealey
DUMPING GROUND: The stream at the back of Richard Kealey’s property is contaminated with raw sewage.

Excrement and toilet paper aren't what you'd want to see flowing through your backyard.

But that's what Richard Kealey comes home to several times a week.

The stormwater creek that runs through the back of his property is contaminated with raw sewage from two neighbouring houses.

The Gardens resident noticed "a bit of a smell" soon after he and his family moved in two years ago but assumed it was just stagnant water.

It wasn't until he saw faecal matter floating in the shallow stream last year that the true nature of the pong hit home.

"It's a pretty serious health hazard.


"I have a young child and I have a dog so it's quite concerning," Kealey says.

"When it gets really hot, it reeks."

He's also worried about the effect of the sewage on the native bush bordering his property.

Native birds are often seen in the area and they could get sick from the contaminated water, he says.

"In this day and age, it's pretty Third World."

Kealey contacted Auckland Council about the problem in November and staff from Watercare have been by sporadically to clean around the culvert.

But that has only served as a stop-gap measure and the sewage is still flowing.

An Auckland Council spokesperson says dye tests have identified the excrement is coming from the sewer lines of two nearby properties, which appear to be incorrectly connected to the stormwater lines.

"Our records for these properties show the plans provided to the council have not been correctly followed."

The drainlayers are ultimately responsible but they have not returned council calls or emails, the spokesperson says.

"We will continue to seek a resolution of this issue."

But Kealey reckons that's not good enough.

The council would have issued a code of compliance certificate when the houses were completed and should have picked up on the issue then, he says.

"At the end of the day, how long's it going to take? What's going to happen if my daughter gets sick - are the council going to say, 'Well, it's the drainlayers' fault?'

"Passing it along isn't going to solve the issue. It just needs to get resolved."

The council would not release the name of the company responsible to Fairfax Media.

Manukau Courier