Health warning following pump failure

Wednesday November 23, 2011

​​​The Community and Public Health division of Canterbury District Health Board is advising people to avoid using the estuary north of Penguin Street until Saturday.

The advisory comes as a result of a failure of an earthquake weakened pump that has led to a brief sewage overflow into the Avon river at Pages Road today (November 23, 2011). 

The Christchurch City Council expects this to be fixed by tonight but Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey has advised people to avoid using the estuary north of Penguin Street until the weekend.

“Water contaminated by human faecal bacteria may contain a range of disease causing micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria and protozoa,” Dr Humphrey says.

“In most cases the ill-health effects from exposure to contaminated water are minor and short-lived.  However, there is the potential for more serious diseases, such as hepatitis A, giardia, cryptosporosis, campylobacter and salmonella.”

Dr Humphrey says the public should be reminded that there will still be the occasional, short duration discharges of untreated sewage into the rivers as a result of problems encountered during repairs to pumping stations and pipes for some time.

“When such events occur the public will be kept informed through warnings on the Environment Canterbury website and facebook page and public warnings through the media,” he says.

For more information about the water quality at swimming sites in Canterbury visit the Environment Canterbury website or facebook site.​

Page last reviewed: 12 February 2014