Sewage going into Wellington harbour after pipe collapse

Up to 100 litres of wastewater and raw sewage a second is pouring into the Wellington harbour after a wastewater pipe collapsed in the CBD.

The pipe runs under Willis and Dixon Streets.

Wellington Water chief executive Colin Crampton told Nine to Noon a small volume of waste can be held before it needs to be discharged, but the volume coming through is too great for that.

"It's a very tricky situation because the collapse is a long way down underground.

"It appears it will be for a number of days."

The discharge points are near the dive platform and Whairepo lagoon on the Wellington waterfront.

The collapsed tunnel, beneath Willis and Dixon streets, was being prepared for repair.

Crampton said staff were on the ground between the port area and Oriental Bay warning business owners, residents and others.

"We are telling people 'don't enter water until we can give you a further update'."

The broken pipe, which feeds into the main sewer taking wastewater to Moa Point for treatment, serves the entire central city.

The amount of wastewater was directly related to how much water people used, he said.

"If people can conserve water in businesses and the CBD, there will be less wastewater produced and that will enable us to manage the system."

Crampton said it was not yet possible to say how soon the problem could be fixed, but it was likely that raw sewage would continue to be emptied into the harbour for several days.

Staff were still trying to figure out what caused the blockage and how to fix it.

They were also looking at a disused sewer pipe below Willis Street to see if that could be recommissioned.

"At the moment it looks like a localised problem but we will be going around critical points to recheck everything to make sure these sort of things will be avoided."

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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