Keeping wastewater out of Pilot Bay

A wastewater pump that was blocked with rags and wet wipes that were flushed down the toilet. Photo: Tauranga City Council/Facebook.

Tauranga City Council will be pushing to increase awareness of what should and shouldn’t be flushed down toilets, after a wastewater pump blocked with wet wipes caused an overflow to contaminate Pilot Bay.

Council staff and contractors arrived at the site of the contamination just after 4pm on Saturday.

“They assessed there was a possibility the wastewater overflow may have had an impact on Pilot Bay,” says consents officer Radleigh Cairns.

“The first priority was to stop the overflow and discharge to stormwater. In a little over an hour the blockage was cleared, area disinfected, and stormwater sumps sucked out.

“Staff advised Bay of Plenty Regional Council of the potential pollution incident immediately and signage was erected at the potentially affected end of Pilot Bay at around 5.30pm.”

He says samples were taken at five points along Pilot Bay.

“The Marine bathing guidelines require testing for the presence of Enterococci. A result with over 140 Enterococci/100ml requires follow up sampling, with consecutive samples over 280 enterococci/100ml requiring the erection of warning signs.”

One of the samples taken on Saturday came back with an elevated result over 140, says Radleigh.

“As a result, warning signs will remain in place until follow up samples show levels below the Marine bathing guidelines.”

As the blockage at Pilot Bay was caused by wet wipes, Tauranga City Council will be sending residents in the area further information, as well as working with local accommodation providers to increase awareness around what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet.

“We have been increasing awareness around this issue for some time with information going out on the back of water rates, in advertising and through our social media channels.

“The awareness of the community around this issue appears to be increasing, and hopefully we will start seeing a reduction in these types of blockages.”

The council initially reported Pilot Bay would be reopened yesterday, but had to postpone after one of the five samples taken came back with high levels of bacteria.


the right pump for the job ?

Posted on 17-01-2018 18:13 | By ow

It is remarkable that there is not a suitable pump for this stuff !


Posted on 17-01-2018 17:10 | By Taniwha0

With our city growing, tcc get your priorities right ,the problem is only going to get worse,flag the museum,we don’t need it but do need a capable treatment plant.Shame for our beaches .


Posted on 17-01-2018 14:55 | By maildrop

Ironic that the people who use Pilot Bay for their picnics, with their wee ones swimming in safe water, are the ones blocking the public loo. Idiots.

Wake up TCC – Tauranga is loosing its shine.

Posted on 17-01-2018 13:44 | By Brenda-cyclemax

So flushed rags and wet wipes bring our tourism hot spot to a grinding halt right in front of thousands of holiday makers and international cruise ship visitors. Great look TCC! The Tauranga harbour is always being polluted! Why does this not happen as often in other beachfront cities that have far, far larger populations combined with large scale industry? Every time we have a storm, Tauranga almost comes to a stop with widespread water and electricity dramas. TCC save the excuses. Focus on your core function and concentrate on timely planning and building of essential infrastructure together with ongoing maintenance. While I am having a good moan why is it that rubbish bins all over (when you can find one) are always full and overflowing? Overall, Tauranga was a far more vibrant, enjoyable and cleaner place ten years ago. Sad that so-called growth has taken our city backwards.

Common sense

Posted on 17-01-2018 13:35 | By Told you

As its proven wet wipes do not break down properly force the manufactures to redesign their product to met exceptable standards, this suituation should not be tolerated.

How hard is it..

Posted on 17-01-2018 10:48 | By Marshal

Install a large sticker over every toilet cistern. Similar to the ones on some yachts.. If it hasn’t been in your mouth, don’t flush it.. lolCheers

Horrible Job

Posted on 17-01-2018 10:21 | By waiknot

I admire the people who do this job

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