Update - 4pm Friday 9 April
Work overnight at the Hona Road pump station was successful in removing the debris from the pump station chamber reinstating service at the station to normal capacity by re-installing the two pumps at the station.
During the night a diver spent about four hours in the pump station chamber removing large bricks and concrete by hand and using a ‘sucker hose’ to remove the finer silt and debris. The pump station can now manage normal wastewater flows and the community can return to using water as they typically would in their households.
The pump station will be monitored during the weekend and crews will investigate further repair options for the wastewater main next week. Should the further repairs cause any disruption, information will be provided to Ngāpuna residents and the wider community prior to any work taking place.
Remediation and operations staff will be back on Monday to check the pump station, remove the equipment and clean up the site.
Rotorua Lakes Council and TRILITY would like to thank the community for the ongoing patience and assistance to reduce water use this week while the repair work has been underway.
Update - 4.30pm Wednesday 7 April
Specialist crews will be returning to the Hona Road pump station on Thursday night to continue the silt-removal work to they began earlier in the week on Monday.
Further work on the pipes into the pump station will happen overnight tonight (Wednesday 7 April) to enable the specialised work to go ahead on Thursday night.
This means two nights of overnight work, trucks and flood lights on site and a further request to the Eastside community to be mindful of water use to reduce wastewater flows into the pump station.
It was hoped that this work could be carried out during the day however, it needs to happen during the night when wastewater flows are at their lowest.
Council continues to thank the residents in Ngapuna, especially those closet to the Hona Road pump station, and the wider Eastside community for their ongoing patience and understanding while the work to repair the pump station is carried out.
Update - 11am Tuesday 6 April
The operation to repair and clear debris from the Hona Road pump station has been ongoing during Easter weekend with specialist crews called in to assist.
Divers were on site on Monday night working to clear the silt from the bottom of the pump station to enable the pumps to operate without risk of blockage.
“We had all the crews on site overnight when the wastewater flows into the station would be at their lowest. These are specialists that actually dive to the bottom of the pump station in order to clear it,” says Infrastructure Group Manager Stavros Michael.
“While it wasn’t as successful as we hoped for we did gain more valuable insights on the actual condition of the system and we are investigating further options for repairs. We are hoping to carry out the work during the day this week so disruption to the neighbourhood will be reduced as much as possible.
“The residents in the area have been very patient and understanding and we’re thankful for that and the efforts of the wider Eastside community in keeping household wastewater flows to a minimum. The quick initial response and the efforts to date have meant we’ve avoided any wastewater overflows.”
The damage to the pump station occurred last week on Tuesday 30 March due to a collapsed wastewater main which led to debris and silt getting into the pump station. The heavy rain storm at the end of last week further hampered the repair work through more silt entering the pump station from the broken main.
The waste water main now has a temporary fix in place and the focus now is on clearing all the silt and sediment from the pump station to get things back to full flows capacity. Temporary pumps are in place to manage the flow of wastewater while the pump station is out of action. In effect we have a pump station bypass in place.
“The important thing now is that residents and businesses on the Eastside continue to be mindful of water use to keep flows to a manageable level during the next few days,” says Mr Michael.
“We’ve also put out a call to ask that people avoid flushing wet wipes. Flushing wet wipes is always a ‘no no’ but we especially ask that people are mindful of that rule now while the temporary fix is in place. Wet wipes cause blockages in the wastewater network and can cause damage to the temporary bypass solution that’s in place.”
Council will continue to keep the community updated via our website and social media pages. Staff have been in direct contact with neighbours in Hona Road.
Top photos - Drive crews suited up and inside the pump station to clear debris.
Waste Management sucker trucks lined up on site ready to remove wastewater.
Equipment and flood lights set up to assist with the repair operation last night.
Update 5.30pm - Saturday 3 April
Work to clear silt and debris from the Hona Rd wastewater pump station is continuing and we'd like to thank everyone in our Eastside areas doing their bit to take it easy on household water use this weekend to ensure we continue to progress.
We are, however, getting some blockages in the temporary pumps due to the flushing of wet wipes so please, don't flush those wet wipes! Your ongoing assistance and vigilance with regards to water use is greatly appreciated.
Last week's rain means efforts to get the pump station back to normal operations is taking longer and we appreciate your ongoing help. We would also like to acknowledge the patience shown by Ngapuna residents, particularly those residing close to the pump station. Thank you for your ongoing understanding. We are working hard alongside our Trility contractors to get the situation rectified as soon as possible.
Update 5.30pm - Thursday 1 April
We are still asking that people in Rotorua’s Eastside areas continue to take it easy on their household water use (showers, laundry, dishes, basins, toilets) over Easter weekend.
A temporary repair is in place on the damaged pipe which caused the initial silt build-up at the Hona Rd wastewater pump station.
However, last night’s rain saw flow into the pump station increase and more silt build up in the pump chamber that was being cleared of the original build-up and we need to get the wastewater level down so we can clear out the silt and put the pumps back in and get them operational again.
We are still using temporary pumps at the moment and progress is being made but last night’s rain means it's taking longer to get the situation sorted.
A big thank-you to residents for their assistance so far.
Update 10am - Thursday 1 April
Eastside residents and businesses are still encouraged to keep water use to a minimum today as TRILITY crews continue the repairs on the pump station and pipe at Hona Road.
Repair work continued yesterday however yesterday's heavy rain slowed progress.
While work is underway it's still important that Eastside residents continue to be mindful of water use. Here's some tips to avoid wasting water:
- Have short showers
- Save unnecessary washing for another day
- Don't flush if you don't need to
- Don't leave taps running
Update - 3.30pm
With an extensive wastewater network of more than 500km of pipes, unforeseen faults, damage or breakages in the network are expected and can be due to age, condition or damage that occurs within the network.
There are emergency procedures in place to ensure we respond as quickly as possible to any issues to reduce any impact on the community and the environment.
In this instance, overnight at the main Eastside pump station on Hona Road, the procedures that are in place enabled staff to respond immediately and we were able to avoid a potential overflow so it was a successful operation.
The call to residents this morning to try and keep water use to a minimum helped to avoid an overflow and we are grateful for the public’s assistance.
The build-up of silt that had entered and blocked the pump station has now been cleared and temporary measures that have been put in place are working, enabling the necessary repairs to be made.
There was no overflow or spill on this occasion.
The emergency procedure in place enabled staff to respond quickly which meant they could contain the wastewater on site at the pump station. The public’s assistance in keeping water use to a minimum has also helped and is much appreciated.
Repairs are now underway but we are ask that Eastside residents remain mindful of their water use and not use water unnecessarily eg keep showers short, only do laundry if necessary, don’t leave taps running, only use your dishwasher if necessary.
Every bit helps and we will keep you updated here on Council's website and via our Facebook page.
Update - 10.30am
Council has issued a call this morning (31 March) to people in the Eastside of Rotorua to help reduce wastewater by avoiding non-essential water use.
This call is for all residents in the Eastern suburbs including Lynmore, Ōkareka, Ngāpuna, Ōwhata, all the way to and including Brunswick and Otaramarae.
Last night TRILITY crews were alerted to an issue at the main pump station in Hona Road that services the Eastern part of the city. Silt and rubble from what appears to be a damaged pipe near the station caused continual blockages in the main, resulting in a build-up of wastewater.
TRILITY responded to the issue before an overflow occurred and have worked through the night with mobile pumps and sucker trucks to reduce the level of wastewater within the pump station and network.
There has been no overflow/spill.
The level of wastewater is continuing to fall but it is still important that people in the Eastside continue to reduce any water use until further notice.
“We usually get a peak flow between 10 and 11am after people have finished with showers and put laundry on, so we’ve asked residents and businesses to reduce any non-essential water use,” says Infrastructure Group Manager Stavros Michael.
“People can still do the essentials like washing hands and brushing teeth but if they can hold off on a shower this morning or leave laundry until tomorrow that would help to reduce the wastewater and avoid an overflow and so we can get on to repairs faster.
“Getting the community on board when these things happen is all part of the contingency planning that we have in place for managing a network of more than 500km of pipes.”
Once the wastewater has been reduced to normal levels and standby pumps are managing the wastewater flow, TRILITY staff can begin the process of clearing the debris from the pump chamber and repairing the pipe. Further updates will be shared with the community as this work happens.
How to help:
- Avoid or reduce any non-essential water use including showers, laundry, flushing the toilet, dishwashers
- Essentials are okay – brushing teeth, washing hands, flushing the toilet when necessary etc.
- Keep an eye on Council’s website and social media for updates
- Share with people you know in the Eastside community so they can help too