Bay’s stinky problem
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.
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.