Cardrona Alpine Resort re-opens tomorrow after shutting unexpectedly for four days.
The mountain’s near-to-overflowing oxidation pond has been partially emptied by “hazardous waste” trucks carting thousands of litres of grey water to Queenstown.
Recent heavy rain, snow melt and high usage of facilities have led to the skifield’s pond, which stores grey water – a combination of storm water, used water and urine – to almost overflow.
“The oxidation pond was working fine it’s just that it didn’t have the capacity that we required this year. We didn’t anticipate that at all,” Cardrona spokeswoman Nadia Ellis says.
“It’s low enough now that a busy day on the ski field won’t have an impact on it. We’ll be monitoring the situation quite carefully over the remaining weeks of the season.”
Cardrona plans to increase the oxidation pond’s capacity over summer so the problem – which could impact on health and safety and the environment – won’t happen again.
“It’s certainly something we couldn’t risk getting into the water supply down in the Cardona Valley.”
Ellis won’t be drawn on the costs involved for the company.
“It’s obviously been a significant cost to us as far as the trucking goes, not to mention lost revenue. But for us the most important thing was doing the right thing and being responsible.
“It’s been very disappointing that we couldn’t be open and obviously there’ve been a lot of disappointed skiers and snowboarders.”