Potential contamination of river

Monday January 14, 2013

The Community and Public Health Division of Canterbury District Health Board have issued a health warning for the Avon River/ Ōtākaro following a suspected sewer leak.
Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health says there is currently an issue with a sewer main in Richmond resulting in a discharge of untreated wastewater to the Avon River/Ōtākaro in the vicinity of the Swanns Road bridge.
“Water quality in the Avon and Heathcote rivers rarely meets recreational water standards, but at the moment the Avon is particularly contaminated downstream of Swanns Road and contact with water in the river should definitely be avoided,” Dr Humphrey says.
Dr Humphrey says the problem seems to have resulted from ongoing issues with underground wastewater and stormwater pipes damaged during the earthquakes.
“We understand there has been a large depression develop in the road over the top of a stormwater brick barrel in Warwick Street and believe that this dip is probably pointing to the fact that the sewer main has been dragged down also and has broken, and the sewer is entering the brick barrel at that point.”
Dr Humphrey says while SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) is currently in Warwick Street working on the permanent rebuild of the wastewater network in the area, works are expected to take until mid-2013.
“Thankfully the Christchurch City Council’s maintenance contractor and SCIRT are working closely together to make a temporary repair ahead of the final fix; however we advise that people continue to avoid the river in the meantime until scheduled repairs are completed.”

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Page last reviewed: 09 July 2013