QLDC fined for sewage leak

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The Queenstown Lakes District Council has been fined $24,225 for discharging wastewater from sewage pipes into Lake Wakatipu in 2017.

Council contractor Veolia became aware that a developer had allegedly illegally connected to the QLDC’s wastewater network in March 2017.

Veolia later flushed the main pipe at Loop Rd, in Kelvin
Heights, releasing debris and freeing the flow of the pipe.

Routine maintenance and inspections before the developer’s alleged connection to the network found no issues with the pipes.

A resident reported a discharge from a manhole in the pipeline on August 3, 2017, which flowed over a popular cycleway/walkway and into the lake.

Veolia cleared the blockage in the sewer pipeline within about two hours of the discharge being reported, with the total amount leaked into the lake believed to have been 912 litres.

The area was cleaned and disinfected the same day the leak was reported, although the full duration of the discharge was unknown.

QLDC pleaded guilty to the charge after being taken to court by the Otago Regional Council and was convicted of the offence at Queenstown District Court today.

The council was ordered to pay the fine of almost $25,000, as well as additional court costs.

Judge Brian Dwyer said the offence resulted in a ”small discharge” that was not deliberate.

”As this particular discharge was into Lake Wakatipu it added an aggravating factor to the offence.

”There was a prompt and effective response on its [QLDC] part when the offence was brought to notice.”

He said the fact the lake was one of the country’s ”iconic” bodies of water was an important part of his decision on the fine amount.

Both the ORC and the QLDC have been contacted for comment.

Meanwhile, a majorĀ upgrade of Frankton’s stormwater system will start this week, in a bid to meet rapidly increasing demand.

A new community playing field will also be developed in the area, the council said.

In a press release issued this morning, council property and infrastructure manager Peter Hansby said the project would provide for current and future stormwater capacity as growth
in the area in continues.

”The rapid pace of growth in Frankton has driven the development of a long-term strategy for the future management of stormwater in the area.

”We’ve identified the best possible long-term solution and plan to kick off stage one of the upgrade at the end of January 2019.”

The recently completed Eastern Access Road project addressed a significant portion of the land area to the north of Grant Rd, with a main trunk stormwater system capturing and transporting stormwater to the Shotover River Delta, Mr Hansby said.

”The North East Frankton line will manage the remaining stormwater in the Frankton Flats area, allowing for the future demands of the whole catchment area and rain events greater than one in every 20 years.”

A playing field is also planned for above Remarkables Primary School.

”These works are significant and will see deep trenches dug along the pipeline route, along with thrusting the
pipe under State Highway 6.”

The excess fill will be transported to the site above the primary school and turned into a sports field.

”Access to sports fields is another area under pressure so it’s fantastic to be able to make this added benefit happen for our growing community,” Mr Hansby said.

The new field is expected to be open for use from this spring.
Work is set to start at the Frankton lakefront late January and is expected to last until August.

It will cause ”minor disruption” to the Frankton Track.

Diversions will be in place and the details shared online. Residents are asked to follow all signage in place.