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  Community » Your Community » Lake Taupō » Taupō wastewater and sewage discharge

Taupō wastewater and sewage discharge

About 2pm on Tuesday (2 July 2019), a water main break caused a large washout on the lakefront in Taupō. About an hour later the footpath collapsed and took out a wastewater pipe causing wastewater to enter the lake.

Taupō District Council has been able to successfully divert waste back into their treatment station. As a result of this mitigation measure, there has been no further discharge into the lake since 2am Wednesday (3 July).

Taupō District Council is leading the response to this incident. For more information, please visit the Taupō District Council website(external link) or follow the updates on the district council's Facebook page(external link).

Below is information from Waikato Regional Council on our response to the Taupō wastewater and sewage discharge. As more information from our teams becomes available, we will update this page.

Current at 1200h: Wednesday 10 July 2019

  • Waikato Regional Council has provided some guidance to the district council on their remediation plan. If weather allows, on Monday we will be sampling the deposited material on the shoreline to better inform the remediation efforts.
  • We have a contractor on site to ensure earthworks and remediation are compliant with the Resource Management Act and Regional Plan rules.
  • Tūwharetoa has imposed a rāhui on the northern part of Tapuaeharuru Bay and the Waikato River to Aratiatia. It restricts food gathering, as well as public access to the incident site. There are no other restrictions for lake and river users.
  • We believe sewage entered the Waikato River through the Lake Taupō gates following the incident, and it will have reached the Aratiatia Dam during the day on Wednesday. Taupō District Council advises that drinking water is not affected and regular sampling is underway.
  • While it's not our role to provide health advice, we would urge people to remain out of the water within 1km of the incident site on the Lake Taupō foreshore.
  • It takes approximately 13 days for water to travel from the Lake Taupō gates to Karāpiro dam.
  • We are liaising with Toi Te Ora (Bay of Plenty) and Waikato DHB, providing them with information on which they can issue advice to recreational and industrial water users.
  • UPDATED: Water quality results
    • At the incident site and in the immediate mixing zone, the discharge reflects the nature of the effluent with values well above Microbiological Water Quality Guidelines for Main and Freshwater Recreational Areas(external link).
    • Results of our sampling have come back for the following sites: 
      • The marina samples were within ‘safe mode’ as defined by the guidelines.
      • Further downstream at Cherry Island was in the ‘alert’ and ‘action’ modes with the first sampling, but in safe mode in the subsequent sampling.
      • The samples collected in the vicinity of Rapid Jets were within 'safe mode' as defined by the guidelines.
      • The samples collected at Ohaaki Bridge were within 'safe mode' as defined by the guidelines.
    • More water samples have been collected and results will be available in the coming days. The results of sampling can take up to 48 hours.
    • It's important to note that rain and wind in Taupō and the subsequent wave action has potential to re-suspend and mobilise some of the deposited material. 
    • There is also potential for a further release of sediment, nutrients and pathogens when the ‘fan’ near the discharge zone is remediated.

    Listen to the interview(external link) our science manager, Mike Scarsbrook, did on Thursday, 4 July 2019.

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