Toilet advice for Christchurch residents

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 05:00 11/03/2011
SITTING PRETTY: Lisa Johnston and James Bellamy run a workshop at the New Brighton Recovery Assistance Centre on building and using composting toilets.
NATASHA MARTIN/ The Press
SITTING PRETTY: Lisa Johnston and James Bellamy run a workshop at the New Brighton Recovery Assistance Centre on building and using composting toilets.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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To flush or not? That is the question for Christchurch residents.

Confusion remains after official warnings that many city households should not flush their toilets even if they have running water.

The warnings came as the Government and Civil Defence confirmed just one-quarter of the 40,000 temporary toilets believed to be needed had been delivered.

Civil Defence Minister John Carter said the chemical toilets and portaloos were being delivered as fast as possible.

However, one city MP had decided to help out, arranging for nine portaloos from Marlborough vineyards to be moved into the devastated Avonside suburb.

Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns, who has been frustrated at delays in getting essential services to residents, helped place portaloos on several streets, and planned to deliver another five today.

Meanwhile, New Brighton residents yesterday had a lesson on making and using a compost toilet, while a Melbourne distributor offered to provide 17,000 tablets to help break down waste solids and kill odours.

John Feruglio said he had offered to ship the environmentally friendly Odour b Gone tablets to Christchurch.

Carter said about 60 per cent of city households could use their toilets, but admitted there was "considerable anxiety" for those unable to flush.

Adding to the confusion was Christchurch City Council advice that those residents given chemical toilets should use them – even if their own toilet flushed.

Civil Defence said residents would be given information as water was connected on how to find out if their toilet could be used.

However, a spokeswoman for Carter later said people should do their own testing to see if their toilets could be flushed.

Anyone with problems should contact the council, she said.

Carter said 40,131 temporary toilets had been sourced to meet demand.

By yesterday, 1471 portaloos and 4800 chemical toilets had been delivered with 5000 more chemical toilets expected last night.

However, Burns said that was little comfort to many Avonside residents, many of whom had been "walloped twice" in the past six months.

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