Albert Town sewerage failure fixed but 'root cause' remains unknown

by Lauren Pattemore - Jan 11, 2024

The Queenstown Lakes District Council says the "root cause" of the wastewater leak at the Albert Town pump station is still unknown. 

The pump station is now working as normal with an interim repair in place, and odour will remain until it is cleaned up. 

In a statement published by the QLDC this afternoon it says the station is being "thoroughly inspected" to understand the root cause.

"Based on the available storage capacity and estimated time to install the replacement section we’re confident that incoming flows can be managed effectively in the meantime," the statement says. 

"Council contractors worked through the night to identify the full nature of the fault, repair it and mitigate the flow of wastewater," the statement says. 

"This was achieved by bypassing part of the flow to the old Albert Town oxidation pond behind Jack Young Place, and removing the remainder via a fleet of sucker trucks."

The wastewater is now conveyed to the Project Pure treatment plant as normal.

In the statement, the QLDC says no wastewater reached the Clutha River Mata-Au, however there was spillage into the roadside along State Highway Six. 

This will be cleaned up, the QLDC says. 

"There will be a noticeable odour until this work is completed and we thank local residents for their patience and understanding after this unusual and unexpected event."

The statement says this clean up process is likely to involve pumping away the diverted flow, scraping away the top layer of vegetation and disinfecting the site.

"Council has kept elected members, Otago Regional Council, public health groups, iwi and other stakeholders informed."

"We will also deliver letters to residents of properties close to the old Albert Town oxidation pond."

Main image: The Albert Pump Station leak on  Albert Town-Lake Hāwea Road (SH6) this morning (January 11).

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