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.

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