Sewage spill leads to council court case
A large sewage spill in Titahi Bay has led to a charge being laid against Porirua City Council.
The ‘‘significant’’ spill happened last October after a pipe broken by storm debris allowed more wastewater than usual to flow into the Titahi Bay wastewater treatment plant.
There was also a partly blocked underwater grate at the plant, which caused the partially treated sewage to overflow one of the basins, into the sea south of Titahi Bay, the council said.
Council chief executive Gary Simpson said the council accepted the overflow happened and it intended to plead guilty to the charge, which was being brought by Wellington Regional Council.
Regional council spokesman Al Cross said he could not give details of the incident or the investigation until the matter was resolved.
A prosecution of this kind was rare, with just two others in Wellington in the past 10 years, he said.
Porirua City Council spokesman Peter Bailey said the chances of a similar overflow happening again were slim, but the council had taken measures such as removal of the grates and had looked into installing a trigger system when the basins reached certain levels to ensure they did not overflow.
Last May, Wellington City Council was let off a similar charge after a discharge of millions of litres of sewage off Wellington’s south coast following a storm. In 2012, discharging human effluent into the Waikato River landed Hamilton City Council with a $37,500 bill.