Birds are feasting on $360,000 worth of plants at Timaru's new sewerage treatment facility, and measures taken to scare them off are keeping neighbours awake.
Around 90,000 water-clarification plants now form part of the Timaru District Council's new Aorangi Rd wastewater treatment plant project, which is almost complete, but they have created a smorgasbord for birds.
The plants thrive on the nutrients from the sewage, and help treat and clean the liquid in a specially constructed wetland.
However, birds are feeding on the plants then pass the time at the ponds and wetland.
Neighbour Lindsey Thompson said a bird scarer and the occasional alarm would go off during the day and night to stop the birds "nibbling at the weeds".
The alarm was similar to the noise a cellphone would make, he said. "It [the scarer] used to go off at all times of the day and night.
"You would hear the boom, boom, boom and then it stopped, until a couple of weeks ago when it started again," he said.
He just wished it would stop during the night so he could have an uninterrupted sleep.
Timaru District Council drainage and water manager Grant Hall believed the bird situation had been dealt with and the bird scarers were being used only during the day now. "It was on during the night but we sorted that out a few months ago," he said.
When the Herald informed him the scarers were operating through the night again, he said he would get on to it straight away.
"Nothing has changed in the past couple of weeks for them to be going off again," Hall said.
The contractor and the council had some hurdles to overcome but he thought they had been sorted.
The contractor in charge of the planting told the council that birds had been eating the plants before the roots had a chance to take hold.
"The plants will be established in the next growing season. The birds had been getting at the plants and pulling them out when they were first planted but the contractor tells us it is no longer an issue," Hall said.
- The Timaru Herald