Saturday, November 12, 2011

Estuary, rivers, beaches are all clean! Surfs up for summer!

Finally after more than one year and almost 8 billion litres of untreated wastewater overspill, Christchurch waterways have finally been declared open for recreational use.
The Avon and Heathcote rivers, the Estuary and Scarborough beach have today been reopened following extensive earthquake-damage repairs.
Since the September quake about 7.8 billion litres of untreated wastewater, which would fill more than 3100 Olympic-sized swimming pools, spilled into city rivers.
Sewer overflows reached a peak of around 85,000 cubic metres a day, across 28 different overflow sites, immediately after the February quake.
Christchurch City Council water and waste manager Mark Christison said over the past eight months that volume had reduced and as of today, discharges had stopped.
''There was around 12 kilometres of major sewer pressure mains that needed to be completely replaced before the sewer overflows could stop.
''We gave ourselves a deadline of having the waterways and beaches reopened in time for summer - it's been a tough challenge but the teams on the ground have worked hard and achieved our goal.''
He warned there would still be occasional discharges of untreated sewage into the rivers, as a result of problems encountered during repairs to pumping stations and pipes.
Christison said the situation would be monitored carefully over coming months, and it was likely that some small repair jobs would still be required to address isolated leaks.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey said it was likely bacteria and viruses remained in river sediments, and all waterways must be avoided for 48 hours following heavy rain.

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