Sewage pollutes Avon at Hagley park

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2013

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Untreated sewage has leaked into a Hagley Park stretch of the Avon River.

Signs have been put up along Park Tce advising the public that the river is polluted and they should avoid any contact with the water.

Christchurch City Council water and waste manager Mark Christison said the water had become polluted because of a sewage leak caused by vandalism of wastewater pipes that were being repaired by the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt). The attack happened on Wednesday night near the corner of Bealey Ave and Carlton Mill Rd and was detected early on Thursday, but by then untreated wastewater had leaked into the river.

The damaged pipe had been fixed immediately, but the pollution signs would remain in place until testing revealed that pollution levels had dropped, Christison said.

"Sampling is being undertaken and will continue until the levels of pollution have dropped for two days in a row, at which time the signs will be removed," he said.

Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey last month warned people to avoid contact with the Avon downstream of the Swanns Rd bridge, in Richmond, because a sewer main was discharging untreated wastewater into the river.

He said the high level of contaminants in the river appeared to be the result of damage to the city's water and wastewater pipes, but he noted that even before the earthquakes Christchurch's waterways rarely met recreational water standards because they were contaminated with duck and dog faeces.

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- The Press

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