Fail­ure risk low­ered

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Sewer pipes are big money in Porirua, es­pe­cially with the city coun­cil propos­ing to spend $21 mil­lion in the next 10 years to up­grade the age­ing sys­tem.

This time last year Porirua City Coun­cil re­vealed its plan to ac­cel­er­ate spend­ing to the tune of $2m on the pipes, some of which had never been up­graded since they were first in­stalled.

In­spec­tions and lab­o­ra­tory test­ing car­ried out in 2007 saw coun­cil of­fi­cers rate 25 per cent of the pipe­lines as hav­ing an ‘‘ex­treme-to-high’’ risk of fail­ure.

The coun­cil has a tar­get of fewer than 50 in­ci­dents re­lat­ing to block­ages per 100km of the net­work – Porirua has 402km of wastew­a­ter pipes – but in 2009/10 the num­ber was 72 and flood­ing in re­cent win­ters in east­ern Porirua, Whitby, Taka­puwahia and Mana Es­planade has seen the spot­light turned on this as­pect of the city’s in­fra­struc­ture.

Seven years’ work was com­bined into one, in­clud­ing $1m worth of work in Wai­tan­girua, with much of it to be fin­ished at the end of this month.

This in­cludes the in­stal­la­tion of a spe­cial liner in­side the pipes, a tech­nol­ogy not seen be­fore in New Zealand.

‘‘ A lot of the pipes there [Wai­tan­girua] are 40 to 50 years old, they’re re­ally ap­proach­ing the end of their life,’’ Porirua mayor Nick Leggett said.

The up­grade re­mains a pri­or­ity for him as the coun­cil ap­proaches the long term plan process.

‘‘ This stuff isn’t sexy but peo­ple rely on es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture to work. Most of us will never see it, un­less it’s in a state of dis­re­pair, but we can’t lose sight of the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of a faulty sewer net­work if we want to im­prove our wa­ter­ways and the har­bour. Pipes are the ar­ter­ies of the city – if they get blocked, it will have a heart at­tack.’’

In the draft long term plan, Mr Leggett said there would be a pro­posal to more than dou­ble the in­vest­ment on wastew­a­ter in Porirua, from $9.3m to $21m, dur­ing the next 10 years.

The strat­egy is to take the risk level of the pipes fail­ing from ‘‘high’’ to ‘‘medium’’.

Where this ex­tra $ 11.7m would come from was still to be dis­cussed, Mr Leggett said, but it would likely be a com­bi­na­tion of cash re­serves and loan fund­ing. The next up­grades will oc­cur on the east­ern side of the har­bour, along­side SH1, from the Porirua train sta­tion to Whit­ford Brown Ave.

Keen in­ter­est: Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett was at Arahura Cres in Wai­tan­girua last week to check out the work go­ing on in one stretch of the 3.6km sewer pipe up­grade oc­cur­ring in the sub­urb.

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