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Councillor questions sewerage operation.

Outspoken Queenstown councillor Vanessa van Uden is questioning service levels after a serious sewage leak was uncovered at the Shotover River.

Queenstown Lakes District Council this week admitted an overlooked pipeline from one of the Shotover treatment ponds had been spewing partially treated effluent on to the nearby riverbank.

A QLDC press release said there’d been an urgent clean-up after they were notified a week earlier, but it wasn’t known how much waste water had been discharged, or over what period.

Water services manager Garry McGraw suggested the swiftly flowing river would have diluted the waste water and health risks were unlikely.

However, chief executive Duncan Field ordered an independent investigation. Van Uden says: “I’m concerned [the discharge] would probably have been going much longer.

“My greater concern is with the level of service we are delivering the com­munity, and whether this is a symptom of a bigger problem.

“More importantly, who in council with responsibility is doing something about it?”

On a visit to the river­bank last Friday, Mountain Scene didn’t notice any warning signs.

Van Uden: “I would have expected the contaminated area to be clearly marked and public access prohibited.”

QLDC says it’s taking soil samples to ensure the affected area is properly sanitised.

Waste cleared in last week’s clean-up is stockpiled near the sewage ponds.