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Fix for wastewater problems

After years of wastewater flooding Masterton residents’ homes in the Cockburn St and Colombo Rd area during heavy rain, a solution is finally in sight.

A Masterton District Council [MDC] spokesperson has confirmed 21 properties are being offered fixes, on a property-by-property basis, and the remedial work is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

During storms and heavy downpours, wastewater has poured onto the affected properties, which have needed temporary portaloos when their own toilets become unusable. One resident this year said she suspected faeces had even found its way into her kitchen sink.

The flooding has been a problem for some time but appears to have worsened over the past two years.

In addition to the fixes that are underway, last week MDC assigned an independent expert review of the work and plans.

One of the affected residents has welcomed the progress the council is making.

Faith Traill said work at her property is due to be completed today.

Traill and her family have previously struggled with wastewater overflowing into their yard in heavy rain, leaving toilet paper and human waste floating in their yard.

She praised MDC and the staff who installed the fix.

“They’ve replaced the pipe from the road to the house and put in the ability to have a one-way valve,” she said.

“We are very happy with where it’s at. They have done what they said they were going to do.”

Traill said the work has taken about a month, and council staff have explained why the flooding has been happening.

“Now we have that understanding, that’s really helpful. Time will tell,” she said.

MDC councillor Tim Nelson had advocated for a fix and said the work is a good start to addressing long-term infrastructure issues.

“Although it has been extremely disappointing to see the way in which households impacted by the wastewater issues have been neglected for so long, in some cases many years, at least now action is being taken,” Nelson said.

“As a councillor and advocate for these households, I will continue to hold council staff to account, and to ensure that appropriate measures are put in place.”

Recently appointed MDC chief executive Kym Fell has prioritised fixing the issue.

“Our water team and contractors have worked hard to install solutions for those residents impacted during heavy rainfall events,” Fell said.

“We have treated this with urgency, and we expect to have the last of the work completed for impacted residents of Cockburn St and Colombo Rd before Christmas.”

Fell welcomes the independent engineering assessment, which he said is expected to advise if more can be done to mitigate the flooding issues, while the council’s longer-term programme of wastewater renewal is underway.

Phil Evans, MDC acting manager of assets and operations, said independent engineering advice will address the sewage overflows, specifically in relation to residential properties in the Cockburn St and Colombo Rd area.

It will also review the MDC work to date and the underlying problem, confirm if actions to date were reasonable, advise what more can be done, and provide cost-benefit options.

GHD, a multi-disciplinary consulting firm, has been contracted for the review, with reporting expected early next year.

Evans confirmed 21 residential properties have been offered the installation of reflux valves and, in 13 cases, a wastewater tank.

A non-return valve, also known as a check valve or retention valve, is designed to allow fluid to flow in one direction only, preventing liquid from flowing back upstream of the valve.

– NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded
through NZ On Air

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