New sewage leak into Raglan harbour

LIBBY WILSON AND AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 12:59 11/08/2014

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Raglan residents have been advised to stay out of the harbour after Waikato District Council once again found itself in the poo.

News of a wastewater overflow was posted on the Waikato District Council's Facebook page yesterday.

"Raglan residents are advised that due to an overflow from the wastewater treatment plant at Wainui Road, fishing, collecting of shellfish and swimming in the harbour should be avoided until further notice," the online message said.

The council's service delivery general manager, Tim Harty, said staff were alerted to the spill by a Raglan resident who noticed wastewater overflowing from a wastewater reticulation pump station manhole on Wainui Rd.

"Council staff responded immediately to address the issue and notified relevant stakeholders, including local iwi, Waikato Regional Council and the district health officer," Harty said.

The overflow was under investigation and the cause was yet to be determined.

"We understand that for many residents and marae the harbour is a food source. As a precaution we have informed them, as well as the general public, not to collect seafood until further notice," Harty said.

Waikato Regional Council spokesman Stephen Ward said council staff had attended the spill.

"We were informed that the discharge . . . had stopped and we're looking into the cause of what's happened," he said.

He was unsure of the volume of the discharge but said that would likely be part of the ongoing investigation.

The latest incident comes a month after the Waikato District Council was fined $56,250 for a previous spill into the harbour. At the time, Waikato District chief executive Gavin Ion said "actions" had been put in place to ensure a repeat spill could not happen again.

In June last year an overflowing treatment pond discharged 5 million litres of partially-treated sewage into Raglan Harbour. Ion said the $56,000 fine was "a fair penalty for a regrettable incident".

In August last year, 10,000 litres of partially treated sewage was discharged into Raglan Harbour, angering residents who called for an urgent upgrade to the town's treatment centre.

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