Recovery team steps in to protect beach

Publish Date : 02 Feb 2024

Watercare has called in its specialist Flood Recovery team in the wake of black flag incidents closing Howick Beach.

A major leak from a wastewater pipe occurred in mid-January and was quickly repaired, but the black flag was extended when slips caused more damage.

Land movement saw crews make more repairs on 1 February and now the recovery team will work on long-term solutions involving moving the pipeline inland.

This week’s repairs saw overflow warning signs placed in the beach carpark, staff also flushing the waterway to lower ammonia levels in it and at the beach outlet.

Howick Local Board chair Damian Light has welcomed the move, saying the original incident was due to a break in an exposed section of wastewater pipe behind a Selwyn Road home.

“Watercare says the floods in January last year caused banks around the stream to loosen. Movement since then exposed the pipe in places and covered it in others, adding pressure that has seen it fail in several places.

“Watercare hasn’t been able to save the pipe, but its specialist team will fix the issue.”

He says when beaches are not safe the Safeswim website continues to be the main channel to communicate information to residents, with that information also shared on Facebook.

“Watercare has kept board members and ward councillors informed throughout, providing updates on the leaks, repairs, and other relevant information.

“We do not have direct control over the assets, but the public has been clear more action should be taken to prevent issues, something reflected in the Howick Local Board Plan, which includes advocating for improvements on local stormwater and wastewater infrastructure to minimise overflows, and increased monitoring for illegal discharges.”

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