A damaged pipe led to one of the worst sewage spills a long-time Watercare manager has ever seen, over Auckland Anniversary weekend.
Raw sewage leaked from a large sewerage pipe in Alma Rd in the early hours of Sunday, flooding 13 properties and forcing the evacuation of five homes. A health warning was put in place at nearby Milford beach.
Watercare wastewater transmission manager Chris Harbour said, in his more than 25 years’ experience, this is one of the worst wastewater spills he has seen.
“I have certainly seen much bigger pipes than this one break but, in terms of impact on residents, unfortunately, this is one of the worst incidents I’ve dealt with,” Harbour said.
The sewage flooded inside four homes and the gardens or grounds of the other nine.
Following the event, two houses in Alma Rd required interior commercial cleaning. A third and fourth properties required additional cleaning underneath the homes.
Watercare was helping residents to organise professional cleaning, including a “hydro-vac” to deal with the hard-to-reach areas.
Watercare was also arranging for contractors to return to restore bark, pebbles and help tidy gardens.
Harbour said, despite the seriousness of the situation, the residents affected were extremely cooperative.
“Not only did they follow instructions and take our advice, they also showed a lot of kindness and generosity to our staff, by providing cold drinks and snacks as they worked away in extreme heat over many hours.”
All residents, apart from the two worst-flooded households, were returned to their properties by Sunday night.