Cliff-hanger pipe sparks rethink on stormwater drain

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2014

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Erosion caused by a stormwater pipe in Orepuki is concerning residents in the small town.

Orepuki community development area subcommittee chairman Brian McGrath said the outlet was deteriorating and taking the Aropaki Cliffs with it.

The subcommittee had been looking at repairing the pipes, and considered putting a canvas sock over the outlet, which protrudes from the top of the cliffs.

The sock would run down the bank so stormwater would come out directly on the beach, hopefully preventing further erosion.

However, the subcommittee had trouble finding a contractor willing to do the work, as a result of safety concerns.

The top of the cliff was unstable because of the erosion, making it almost impossible to bring in heavy equipment such as diggers, McGrath said.

The other problem was how the canvas sock would look running down from the cliff top.

"A sock is a bit inappropriate considering the beauty of the area," McGrath said.

The subcommittee was looking at moving the stormwater exit drains. "We've decided it's not appropriate for our stormwater to be exiting on to the beach as it is," he said.

But the process would take time, as the town's stormwater system was not up to scratch.

The system collected only about half the excess stormwater it should, and the town had experienced flooding on edges of roads and parts of properties, he said.

The subcommittee would look at running the stormwater drains to Falls Creek, which runs directly to the sea, he said.

McGrath said the erosion caused by the stormwater outlet was concerning because it was man-made, but natural erosion along the cliffs was also common.

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