Looking after your wastewater network

You may have seen recent media articles regarding the small tomo which formed in Station Street, Dannevirke, where fat and rats caused a wastewater (or sewer) pipe to collapse. It generated quite a bit of attention!

The issue is not a unique one, and is something nearly all councils around New Zealand (and around the world) will have dealt with - or will in the future. Fat originating from commercial and domestic properties can build up over time, sometimes assisted by other non-organic waste that has been disposed of into the wastewater network. Earlier this year, a giant mass of fat, wet wipes and nappies was found in a London sewer – the ‘fatberg’ was 250 metres long and weighed around 130 tonne!

In Tararua, the Tararua Alliance use a CCTV camera and jetting unit to inspect and clean wastewater pipes on a cyclic basis. Currently, pipes are inspected approximately every ten years. Many commercial premises will also have fat/grease traps within the property to separate the fat and prevent it from entering the wastewater network. These are regularly inspected and cleaned.

You too can help to look after the wastewater network, and reduce disruption and costs to both Council and ratepayers. How?

  • Instead of washing cooking fat or grease down the drain, wait for the fat to cool down and harden before disposing it into the rubbish.
  • Avoid using the toilet as a bin, dispose of non-soluble material in the rubbish - this includes feminine hygiene products, food, rags, disposable nappies and baby wipes.
  • If you have a fat/grease trap, make sure it is regularly inspected and cleaned as required.

Remember, the pipe connecting your property to the wastewater main is owned by the landowner – even when it is past the property boundary. If you are experiencing problems with your system and think the pipe is blocked, please consult a local licensed plumber.

However, if you see an issue with a wastewater main, please contact Council’s friendly customer services team on 06 374 4080 or 06 376 0110.



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