27 Jan 2019

Wastewater pipe leaking onto beach won't be fixed until February

1:04 pm on 27 January 2019

A wastewater pipe leaking onto a public beach in Napier will be fixed by the end of February, the company responsible says.

A warning sign on Whirinaki.

A warning sign on Whirinaki. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

The pipe from Pan Pac Forest Products is meant to carry wastewater 2.4 kilometres out to sea from its processing plant but has, for months, been leaking brown foamy water onto Whirinaki Beach.

Residents angry about the pipe want it shut down until it is fixed and are angry at the regional council for not coming down on Pan Pac.

In a letter to residents, company managing director Doug Ducker said it would fit a series of fibreglass patches along the inside of the pipe.

"Preparation for this work is underway as we profile the pipe alignment and begin constructing an access hatch above the high tide line. When the patches are ready for installation, our pulp mill will be shut down while repairs are underway.

"Planning for a long-term solution is running in parallel with the immediate repair work as we investigate the least disruptive method for replacing the original section of pipe that was installed in 1972."

Mr Ducker said the regional council and the District Health Board would be kept informed of the progress.

The public is still being advised to avoid swimming and collecting shellfish with 150 metres of the pipeline.