Last week’s rain caused wastewater and some sewage to pool in Cockburn St backyards. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

Last week’s severe weather warning and heavy downpour brought more than wastewater network issues to the surface for residents on Cockburn St in Masterton.

After the heavy rain, residents on the lower east end of Cockburn St, reported overflowing toilets and kitchen sinks, wastewater flooding and even raw sewage running through their backyards.

Michelle Lamb has lived on the street for over 15 years and said wastewater flooding was an ongoing issue that had been happening for the past five years.

“In times of heavy rain in our area our drains are unable to cope with the backload of stormwater and much to our disgust, sewage.”

Lamb said the council had provided a portaloo but “[they] were still unable to shower or run the washing machine” for two days.

The same thing happened twice last year, in April and July.

It was unsanitary and unacceptable, she said.

Lamb said she was told by the council that the Cockburn St sewers were upgraded in 2008, but she questioned whether the job was done right.

Another Cockburn St resident who did not wish to be named, said the flooding was heavier last year and brought more sewage.

“In winter when we get the rain it’s usually running right under the carport from the fence.”

This year the water just sat there leaving streaks of mould along the concrete, she said.

She said she was most frustrated not knowing how the council planned to resolve the issue.

“It’s not right. It’s a big hassle.”

Masterton District Council’s manager of assets and operations David Hopman, said he was aware of the issues and knew two houses at the end of the street had been affected in the most recent bout of rain.

The problem occurred when an inflow of stormwater into the wastewater systems caused the wastewater network to fill up, he said.

“During a significant rain event the pipes at the bottom end of the network can reach capacity and then can’t be used.”

He said portaloos were provided as an emergency service replacement, but the long-term solution would be to reduce stormwater flow into the network through repairing and replacing pipes.

Hopman said Cockburn St was one of the first streets to be upgraded in the council’s renewal programme.

“Over the past 10 years approximately 25 per cent of the town’s poorest condition wastewater network has been renewed and the council is committed to continuing this work.”

He said boundary inspection ports would be installed on Cockburn St to help assist with identification and maintenance of the problem connections.

The council has allocated $1 million each year for the sewer renewal programme and work is currently under way in High St.