Camera spies on poopatrators
A hidden surveillance camera has been set up in Cromwell to catch unauthorised poopetrators.
Central Otago District Council’s major capital projects manager Simon Norton highlighted problems at an existing septage disposal facility at the Cromwell Waste Water Treatment Plant, during a meeting on Wednesday.
The facility has a normal manhole on Richards Beach Road into which commercial operators pump waste from a tanker parked partially on the road. Issues included sewage spills, road safety, charging and unauthorised tankers dumping waste down a manhole.
‘‘The whole situation is not good. Aside from the fact there are people doing it in an unauthorised fashion, we have got a manhole on a public highway, there is no real traffic facilities to be doing this, there are health and safety issues, they spill the contents - dare I say it - occasionally on the road verge. We aren’t sure they always clean up properly after themselves because there is noone there to manage or monitor this other than what the camera picks up.’’
Council staff believed some waste was arriving from the Queenstown Lakes District area, and was likely due to increased charges at Queenstown sites.
Mayor Tim Cadogan said the council should be ‘‘brutal’’ if people were ‘‘sending somebody’s poop down the wrong hole’’.
Tankers were also picking up solid and grit-type material that was gathering in the sewer, costing ‘‘a fortune’’ to clean.
‘‘We recently had to spend $50,000 in getting a high powered, jet-cleaning truck in from Dunedin to come and clear this out.
An upgrade of the waste water treatment plant started in April which was required under resource consent conditions imposed by the Otago Regional Council. A new tanker septage disposal facility was not needed to meet the resource consent provisions, however a design and price for a new facility was provided during the tender process. The facility would cost between $170,000 and $180,000, he said.
‘‘This system will not stop cowboys using other manholes, that is going to have to be dealt with by other means, but by providing a dedicated system that is easy to use and interlocked hopefully we can encourage good behaviour.’’
Tony Quinn drives his Ford Focus during the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.