Tui gets behind local stink over sewage

MATT RILKOFF
Last updated 05:00 08/12/2012
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ANDY JACKSON

Two builders check out the new Tui beer billboard. L to R Richard Johns & Mike McNeice.

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Dominion Breweries has joined in the stink over New Plymouth District Council pumping semi-treated sewage off the city's beaches this summer.

A Tui beer billboard put up on Courtenay St on Wednesday claims a "rare brown fish" has been spotted at Fitzroy Beach before adding its well known "Yeah right".

And though there are indeed several types of rare brown fish, the one Tui is referring to is no fish at all but human waste of the type flushed down a toilet.

The billboard is a none too subtle dig at the council pumping effluent out to sea that has been screened and disinfected but not biologically treated, while it upgrades equipment at its Waste Water Treatment Plant.

"It's quite a clever one," builder Mike McNeice said of the billboard.

"It took us a while to work it out, actually."

Not so for fellow builder Richard Johns who regularly fishes at the Waiwhakaiho River mouth and had been following the outfall developments closely.

"I don't really want to catch one of those rare brown fish," he said.

It is unlikely he ever would. During the screening process, material larger than 3 millimetres, roughly the size of half a lady bug, is removed.

Council water and waste manager Mark Hall said when he saw the billboard his first thought was it was describing Tui bottles, which are also brown.

"That's what I thought because there is definitely going to be no raw sewage on New Plymouth beaches," he said.

Despite that, signs did go up on beaches around the Waiwhakaiho outfall earlier this week warning against collecting shellfish in the area.

However, because of the disinfecting and screening, the effects on water quality are expected to be "very minor".

Tui marketing manager Will Papesch said the billboard was about "calling it how it was and delivering a smile to those who live in Taranaki".

"Our latest Tui billboard is a salute to the community's local efforts to keep their beaches pristine this summer," Mr Papesch said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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