Logout

Wednesday, May 22, 2024
10.1 C
Masterton

ADVERTISE WITH US

My Account

- Advertisement -

Problem pipes set to drain wallets

Faulty pipes could ping homeowners with bills of up to $10,000

 

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Masterton homeowners could be landed with a big bill to help fix the district’s storm water problems.

A district-wide sewer lateral inspections programme is being considered by Masterton District Council, with individual homeowners set to front the costs of any repair work needed to be done.

Laterals are the pipes which carry waste from homes to the main sewerage system.

The proposed approach would involve identifying faulty laterals using “a range of methods”, and giving homeowners notice of six months to repair them.

It is hoped the outcome of doing so would reduce the amount of wastewater council had to treat and discharge, but it could land homeowners with a bill of between a few hundred dollars up to $10,000 or more depending on the work to be done.

And if a “significant” fault does not get fixed within six months of the council notice, the council will have it fixed at the homeowner’s expense.

Smaller unrepaired faults would go on the property’s LIM report.

MDC assets and operations manager David Hopman said the “refocused” sewer renewals programme would result in less leaks, less wastewater to treat, and less discharge into the river.

Mr Hopman said when it rained heavily, issues in the network, including faulty laterals, caused about three times Masterton’s average daily load to unnecessarily go through the sewer network, most of this being storm water.

“Obviously, the less water that needs to be treated, the lower the cost, and the less issues there are.”

He said since the Homebush consent was lodged eight years ago, the council has had “quite an extensive programme of sewer renewals” targeting the infiltration and inflow into sewers.

Over the last eight years, council has spent $16m on sewer work around Masterton, concentrating on the “poorest performing sewers”.

This work has reduced the inflow by about 18 per cent.

Mr Hopman said MDC was still committed to continuing with its renewal programme, but it is now looking at complementing this with the proposed lateral repair approach.

Prior to this proposal, council had used an “ad hoc” approach to identifying lateral faults.

“We’ve put out notices to fix, we’ve carried out campaigns with smoke testing and inspections, but what we’re proposing now is having a little bit more of a structured approach associated with inspection of boundary caps and where we do find a fault, look at putting a notice to all those properties.

“We’re looking at giving them six months to do that work, and if it’s a fault which is significantly contributing to our infiltration, if the work hasn’t been done by the property owner, the council will do it and then charge the property owner.”

He said repairs could range from being “very straightforward” and costing a few hundred dollars, “or it could be a complete replacement of the lateral costing $5000-$10,000”.

“Depending on the individual circumstance it could be a big number.”

Masterton mayor Lyn Patterson who was one of six councillors discussing the proposal at Wednesday’s Infrastructural Services Committee meeting said she was “really supportive” of the proposed approach, “because we have to do it”.

“We’re here to work with our community and need to communicate the importance of respecting the network to do this.”

South Wairarapa and Carterton homeowners are also responsible for the maintenance of their laterals, but councils did not require a coordinated campaign to locate faulty ones as they have no major issues with their network.

Carterton chief executive Jane Davis said the council hadn’t had any issues with sewer laterals for at least 12 years, and “probably longer than that”.

Some councils around the country are responsible for the laterals between the main system and the property boundary.

Wellington City Council is now considering moving to this system, away from the current system similar to that of the three Wairarapa councils.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Good way to get the current council voted out.

    needs to be a lot of noise made about this.

    why not have homeowners look after power polls too then we have no need for a council at all we can all save money not paying these crooks that handball responsibility to the very people they should be serving !!

  2. Masterton District Council is to be applauded for finally getting to grips with the issues that led to the construction of larger than necessary sewerage treatment ponds at Homebush. Many years too late, but better late than never.
    I was stunned to read the comments, below, that were attributed to Carterton and South Wairarapa District Councils:
    ”South Wairarapa and Carterton homeowners are also responsible for the maintenance of their laterals, but councils did not require a coordinated campaign to locate faulty ones as they have no major issues with their network.
    Carterton chief executive Jane Davis said the council hadn’t had any issues with sewer laterals for at least 12 years, and “probably longer than that”.
    Really? Have these Council’s compared the actual flows entering their treatment plants with calculated flows based on the number of contributing properties? I suggest that if this comparison were made they might find that they have a problem, particularly given the age of their networks. Just because there are no “issues” with sewer laterals doesn’t mean the network and the laterals are not leaking like a sieve.
    Perhaps it is time for these two Council’s to take a proactive approach to the management of their sewerage infrastructure assets, much as Masterton District Council has done, and do some work to find out the size of their problem and what their ratepayers are going to be paying in the future for sewer main and lateral replacement.

  3. So I am responsible for the lateral that runs on a public road – so if i had to repair i dig a trench out to the middle of road (also pay for the lollipop guys and gals). Failing to see any justice here people, what the heck does my rates pay for?

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

Related Articles

- Advertisement -
Trending
Masterton
overcast clouds
10.1 ° C
10.1 °
9.9 °
93 %
2.2kmh
100 %
Wed
10 °
Thu
11 °
Fri
11 °
Sat
12 °
Sun
9 °