Wa­ter warn­ing

Plim­mer­ton stream a health haz­ard?


Plim­mer­ton’s sparkly new do­main has a black spot – a stinky stream that is mak­ing dogs sick.

Like many in the sea­side sub­urb, David Ver­rinder is a dog owner.

He takes his 2-year-old golden re­triever, Rafa, for walks most days. He used to let him have a dip in Taupo Stream, which runs through the sub­urb to the beach, but Rafa would get sick ev­ery time.

‘‘ It’s aw­ful. Each time I’ve al­lowed him to get near the stream it hap­pens,’’ Ver­rinder said.

‘‘I’ve found over the last two years it’s been stinky. It’s just got grime and filth. We have a black and toxic stream.

‘‘I wouldn’t even put my toes in it and I’ve said to peo­ple not to do it.’’

The Plim­mer­ton Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion com­mit­tee mem­ber said he took up the is­sue with Porirua City Coun­cil a year and a half ago, to no avail.

‘‘I heard noth­ing so I fol­lowed through and still noth­ing. I think they’re hop­ing if I’m ig­nored I will go away.’’

Ver­rinder said he and the as­so­ci­a­tion wanted to help fix the is­sue, but needed to know what test­ing was done and what the re­sults were.

‘‘What we want to do is com­mu­ni­cate and solve the prob­lem.

‘‘We have a huge num­ber of vis­i­tors. There are no signs to say not to go near the wa­ter.

‘‘We want to know what’s go­ing on and be help­ful in pre­vent­ing peo­ple from get­ting sick.’’

Jim Sut­ton, Porirua City Coun­cil’s man­ager of en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, said he was not aware of Ver­rinder’s re­quests.

How­ever, he said the wa­ter at the south­ern beach, where Taupo Stream runs into the sea, was be­ing tested by the coun­cil and Wellington Wa­ter Limited ev­ery week from Novem­ber un­til March.

‘‘What we have found from time to time is el­e­vated bac­te­ria lev­els,’’ he said.

He said though there were one­offs, like two weeks ago when the beach was closed be­cause of a bro­ken sewage pipe on a pri­vate prop­erty, most of the time con­tam­i­na­tion was caused by birds from Taupo Swamp.

‘‘We are aware of Taupo Stream and it has a his­tory of fairly vari­able qual­ity of wa­ter.

‘‘What we ba­si­cally say is for peo­ple to be aware.’’

With Taupo Swamp, which drains into the stream, be­ing a nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion and bird sanc­tu­ary, Sut­ton said there was no way to fully clean up the stream.

Ver­rinder said he didn’t be­lieve birds could be caus­ing the whole prob­lem and he wanted more in­ves­ti­ga­tion done.

‘‘We want them to in­ves­ti­gate and fig­ure out what it is. We have been ask­ing for a year and a half,’’ he said.

‘‘ We work re­ally hard to im­prove the ameni­ties for the com­mu­nity. This, we re­ally feel, is let­ting us down.’’


Bad smell: David Ver­rinder’s dog, Rafa, had black paws after run­ning through Taupo Stream in Plim­mer­ton.

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