Photo: Waitematā Local Board chairperson Genevieve Sage and Watercare operations engineer Woo Kwon by the temporary wastewater bypass in Parnell.
There’s no quick fix for a broken wastewater pipe 25 metres beneath the Parnell Rose Gardens, but our team is doing everything it can to prevent overflows into Judges Bay and minimise disruption to residents and motorists.
Operations engineer Woo Kwon says the broken pipe was discovered by a CCTV inspection on March 2, and is believed to be related to the extreme weather events Auckland’s faced this summer.
“The images confirmed a section of pipe was broken right in the heart of the rose gardens – about 25 metres below the surface.
“Our first priority was to set up a temporary solution that would prevent overflows on to people’s properties or out into Judges Bay.
“The broken pipe normally carries wastewater from all the properties on the eastern side of Gladstone Rd, so it was really important to get a temporary solution to contain the wastewater as soon as possible.”
Within two days of finding the break, we had restored wastewater service by bypassing the broken section of pipe using an overland hose between a manhole on Judges Bay Rd and one on Gladstone Rd.
“The original set-up wasn’t ideal because we wanted to stop the overflows as soon as possible,” Kwon says. “Once we’d contained the wastewater and had the bypass in place, we managed to move our generator and bypass pump to a flat spot in the rose gardens, and wrapped it to reduce any noise disruption for neighbours as much as possible.
“Within a week we’d also buried the overland pipe in Judges Bay Rd, which meant we could remove a temporary speed bump and open the road to both lanes of traffic again.”
Now, the overland hose runs up the side of Judges Bay Rd, protected by road cones, and crosses Gladstone Rd, where a temporary speed bump has been installed. The original plastic ramps protecting the pipe have been replaced with hot mix, which minimises noise for neighbours.
“We’re asking motorists to stick to the 30km/h speed limit when they go over our pipe on Gladstone Rd to protect their cars and the set-up we have in place.”
We are exploring options for a permanent solution to the broken pipe, but given the complexity of the problem – particularly the depth of the break – there is no quick fix. The interim solution will likely be in place for months, while planning and consents are sought for a permanent repair.
In the meantime, Kwon hopes to be able to improve the temporary solution further by finding an alternative power source to the diesel generator.
“We’ve been doorknocking in the local community to let residents know about the situation and what we’re doing to resolve it – and people have been really understanding and supportive. We’d like to thank everyone for their patience while we’re working through this issue.”
Waitematā Local Board chairperson Genevieve Sage met with Kwon last week (22 March) to check out the temporary set-up.
“Woo and the team have done a fantastic job to get this solution in place to prevent overflows into Judges Bay. I’m really pleased to see they’re doing everything they can to minimise disruption to the community.
“I know it’s not an ideal situation, with a generator on Judges Bay Rd and the speed bump up on Gladstone Rd, but it’s certainly there for a good reason – to protect our local waterways.
“We are looking into the best option for a permanent solution, but it’s important that it’s not rushed and they find the best way forward.”