Not fit for dogs: Dave Falchney's labs Zoe, left, and Jono, stand where raw sewage spilled out on his garden last Friday


Otago Regional Council’s investigating a major sewage spill into Lake Wakatipu last Friday.

It’s believed tens of thousands of litres of raw, untreated sewage poured
into the lake after a bung ‘‘let go’’ in a pipeline above the Frankton Track.

Local council property and infrastructure manager Peter Hansby says ORC was immediately notified, as required under the network discharge consent.

ORC compliance manager Tami Sargeant confirms it’s investigating.

‘‘We can’t comment further while the incident is subject to investigation.’’

Hansby says council heard about the ‘‘avoidable overflow’’ from ‘‘one of our guys biking into work around 7 or so’’.

‘‘Effectively, we shut off the pump as soon as we realised.

‘‘It had done, I don’t know how many rounds of pumping, but [maybe] two or three given that it kicks in every sort of three minutes or so from that Marine Parade pump station.’’

Hansby says he’s yet to find out what caused the problem with the bung.

‘‘If the bung failed, I suppose that’s something that we’ll work through what is the lessons learned from it, and if anything has to be added to the way that the contractors use the bungs, we’ll put that in place.’’

The incident happened near the council’s Cecil Road Recreation Reserve, running from Frankton Rd down to the Frankton Track, where wastewater upgrade work’s being undertaken.

Jason Climo, regional manager for wastewater contractor Veolia, says his company’s also carrying out an internal investigation, as it does after every overflow.

Hansby’s said the wastewater upgrade, centred around a new pump station at the Recreation Ground, will provide emergency storage and additional pumping capacity to reduce the risk of wastewater overflows into Lake Wakatipu.

Meanwhile, reserve neighbour Dave Faichney is dismayed that raw sewage appeared at the bottom of his garden last Friday.

Mainly to stop his dogs playing in it, he shot off to his South Otago holiday home at the weekend.

As of Wednesday, the patch was still visible, though covered in white powder.

‘‘It’s still contaminated, I would say — it’s a mess, it’s not feasible for dogs to be running in it.

‘‘I’ve looked after the garden for 10 years, and then someone just comes
in and dumps sewage there.’’