Earthquake damage likely behind sewage overflows in Picton
A sewer has overflowed in Picton, discharging effluent near the entrance to the town's marina on the same day the town hosted the America's Cup parade.
Marlborough District Council said that the overflow occurred upstream of the Surrey St pump station and that effluent flowed out of the manhole at the lowest point, near the marina.
Signs were posted on the town's waterfront advising residents and visitors to avoid swimming and bathing in the water.
Civil Defence staff were also on site to advise people by the waterfront to stay away from the water.
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Council operations and maintenance engineer Stephen Rooney said that investigations on Thursday afternoon showed a pipe had collapsed and it was likely due to earthquake damage.
"There has been quite a heavy rainfall over the last few days and this may have contributed, but the likely primary cause is last year's earthquake," he said.
Rooney also said the already weakened pipe subsequently collapsed from vibrations of cars and roadwork.
The pipe had been temporarily repaired.
Rooney said the council was monitoring the water for contamination by taking water samples in the foreshore.
The pollution is expected to clear during the weekend.
"After two to three tide cycles contamination like this disperses," Rooney said.
The leak occurred on the same day as the town's America's Cup parade and the Rooney said public health was the council's number one priority.
"It's very unfortunate timing.
"It's important we put public health first and let everyone know of the health precaution," he said.
The damage did not cause any disruption to the parade, which went ahead as planned.
This was not the first time sewage has leaked in Picton this year.
In late June this year a blocked sewer pipe overflowed, which caused leakage into Picton Harbour and in April the town's sewerage system overflowed following heavy rain.
The council is in the process of upgrading Picton's 85-year-old sewerage system and construction of yesterday's damaged pipe will now be brought forward.
- The Marlborough Express