Swimmers unaware of harbour sewage leak

Sea swimmers were not told of a sewage spill in the Nelson harbour.

The Nelson City Council has confirmed that there was a blockage in 150mm earthenware sewer main in Rocks Rd on Sunday.

Wastewater backed up and overflowed from a manhole and into a nearby sump which discharges under the road to the sea. It was reported to Nelmac at about 10am.

At 11.30am, 90 swimmers swam from the Nelson Yacht Club around Haulashore Island in an annual swim, part of the Clements Endurance series, said a member of the organising committee, Peter Gibbs.

When they returned they found warning signs had been placed, he said.

Nobody had noticed the spill while they swam but others on shore had commented on a smell and thought it might have come from a ship, he said.

A council spokesman said a drainage crew was unable to clear the blockage with rods and so employed a waterblaster.

The overflow was estimated at less than a cubic metre per hour for two to three hours. It was close to high tide when the blockage was cleared so it would have been readily flushed out on the receding tide and the overall effect would have been fairly minor, he said.

The DHB Public Health Officer had been advised.

A CCTV check would be undertaken on the line to try and identify if there was a specific fault in the pipeline that had contributed to the blockage.

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 - The Nelson Mail

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