Water run-off warning

A WARNING about swimming or collecting shellfish in Gisborne waters is in place in the wake of heavy rain on Tuesday night.

Gisborne District Council has issued the warning for the next five days because of indirect sewage run-off into the rivers.

After the heavy rain and the associated run-off, water in Gisborne city rivers is now a dirty brown.

“The rain caused a few problems with the council’s sewer system and a small number of manholes in the city overflowed,” said council regulatory services manager Sarwan Kumar.

“Most of the water coming out of these manholes is stormwater.

“There is a risk that some water that discharged might have been contaminated with sewage,” he said.

One manhole on the corner of Fitzherbert Street and Ormond Road, and another on the corner of Wainui Road and Hirini Street, were still overflowing yesterday afternoon.

“Sewer flows are reducing.

“Streets have been disinfected at the other eight sites where manholes overflowed, “ Mr Kumar said.

Some overflows on private properties occurred but these have all been cleaned up.

“There have been no direct discharges from the sewage system into the city rivers,” he said.

The weather forecast was moderate for today and the council was not expecting any further issues with the sewer network.

A number of areas throughout the East Cape experienced over 200 millimetres of rain during the recent heavy rain event.

The East Coast highway was down to one-lane near Tikitiki yesterday after a large dropout in the heavy rain overnight Tuesday.

SH35 remains closed to heavy traffic at that point and the NZTA will reassess the situation later today.

Gisborne District Council emergency manager Richard Steele said about 50 metres of one lane had been washed away by the Waiapu River at Turitaka, just south of Tikitiki.

Contractors are working to restore heavy vehicle access.

Mr Steele said a roadside drain would be filled in temporarily to restore heavy vehicle access.

“It’s going to take a significant amount of work to fix the dropout.”

Contractors also had to clear a slip that came down over part of SH2 at Morere yesterday as a result of the downpours.

The Mata Road has been closed by a big dropout about six kilometres inland from Tokomaru Bay.

Mr Steele said repairs would take some time and the road could be closed for several days.


The council’s 10-year plan includes $25.7 million of work on wastewater and stormwater pipes, the state of which necessitates periodic diluted wastewater overflows into the city’s rivers during heavy rain events. This would cut discharges to once every two years on average.

Council staff have recommended boosting this to $31.3m of work on the same 10-year time frame, for a system requiring an overflow once every five years on average.

Another option is $34.7m of work over a shortened time frame of seven years, but with the same standard of a one-in-two-year discharge as in the current plan.

Do you agree with the council recommendation to spend $31.3m over 10 years on the city’s wastewater system, after which it would require overflows into city rivers once every five years on average?

For more detail please read: Clean-river measures could cost $31 million



Yes, $31.3m 10-year option.
No, status quo — $25.7m 10-year option.
No, $34.7m seven-year option.
No, whatever it takes to have no discharges into the rivers.
Don’t know
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