Pipeline failure delays meat processing

KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 05:00 02/11/2012

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Meat processing was delayed at South Pacific Meats yesterday when part of a water pipeline at Awarua failed.

Invercargill City Council water services manager Alister Murray said the failure occurred near Ballance Agri-Nutrients just before midnight on Wednesday.

Water was restored at 8.30am.

It had happened about three times this year as the pipeline was old and prone to failure, he said.

The whole pipeline between Invercargill and Bluff would be replaced at a cost of more than $6 million in the New Year, Mr Murray said.

Tender documents were being prepared and the replacement would be paid for through loan funding.

Mr Murray said about 50 homes between Invercargill and Bluff would have been affected by the failure, as the supply had to be turned off for repairs to be made. South Pacific Meats was the main property affected, he said.

Meatworks plant manager Kevin Hamilton said they got up and running yesterday but had to stop all processing because of the lack of water.

The plant started boning at 6am and slaughtering at 7am, and once slaughtering started there would be 60 carcasses on the chain at one time, Mr Hamilton said.

They lost about two-and-a-half hours processing time and workers had to sit in the smoko room until water was restored.

The council had kept them updated which was good, Mr Hamilton said.

There were a couple of hundred workers on-site yesterday.

The plant had been affected by the other pipeline failures this year but it had never been too much of an issue and they dealt with it as it happened, Mr Hamilton said.

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