Bay’s stinky prob­lem

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

THERE’S a stink in Herne Bay and one res­i­dent says the cause of the stench is ‘‘raw ef­flu­ent’’ that Water­care hasn’t dealt with prop­erly.

Kevin Hester says the pong from the waste is so bad he is con­vinced there is a health risk to any­one us­ing Mase­field Bay Beach.

The beach is op­po­site Pt Erin Park and the Cur­ran St on-ramp for the North­ern Mo­tor­way.

Hester says he dis­cov­ered the stench and de­bris dur­ing his daily run, around 7am on March 4.

‘‘First of all I smelled it as I was com­ing out of Westhaven onto Cur­ran St and then I saw birds div­ing and fish jump­ing. They were feed­ing on the raw ef­flu­ent com­ing out of the man­hole.’’

Thick waste was float­ing on the wa­ter, Hester says.

‘‘It was a brown cloud at Mase­field Beach,’’ he says. ‘‘You could see the fish, the mul­let, feed­ing on it.’’

It was dis­pers­ing quickly as it hit the wa­ter, he says.

He rang Auck­land Coun­cil then Water­care within an hour of the dis­cov­ery. Hester says Water­care promptly turned up and pulled up the street’s man­holes.

But he’s had no an­swers from the coun­cil-con­trolled group and the prob­lem re­mains.

Hester says no-one should have to swim in murky wa­ters.

‘‘Since then on my pa­trol ev­ery day, I no­tice it. It hasn’t gone away. The spillage has gone away but I can still smell it.’’

Af­ter post­ing about the stench on com­mu­nity web­site Neigh­bourly.co.nz, Hester says he has heard from other res­i­dents who be­lieve Mase­field has smelled of sewage for years.

Cones were put around the beach the fol­low­ing day, Hester says, with ‘‘pol­lu­tion alert’’ signs. But he says there has been in­suf­fi­cient wa­ter qual­ity in­for­ma­tion for swim­mers.

A com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser for Water­care says the smell and waste came from a blocked waste­water man­hole nearby.

‘‘We re­sponded by send­ing a team to in­ves­ti­gate.

‘‘They found a nearby waste­water man­hole had be­come blocked with rub­bish and de­bris and was con­se­quently over­flow­ing.

‘‘Within two hours of re­ceiv­ing Mr Hester’s phone call, our team had un­blocked the man­hole and were un­der­tak­ing a thor­ough clean-up of the af­fected area,’’ Water­care says.

‘‘While they were car­ry­ing out this work, they put up tem­po­rary pol­lu­tion warn­ing signs and no­ti­fied Auck­land Coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­men­tal health team who are re­spon­si­ble for public health sig­nage.’’

The man­hole will over­flow when there is a block­age – an un­com­mon sce­nario – or in heavy rain, Water­care says. ‘‘This stops the net­work from be­com­ing over­whelmed.’’

The Auck­land City Har­bour News also asked Water­care when res­i­dents could ex­pect the smell and waste to dis­ap­pear and how old its in­fra­struc­ture is.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion did not re­spond to th­ese ques­tions.

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Grossed out: Kevin Hester says the stench of what he de­scribes as ‘‘raw ef­flu­ent’’ at Mase­field Bay Beach is so strong he has con­cerns for the health of beach­go­ers.

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