Funds totalling $250k have been set aside for a private drainage investigation crew to be deployed in Wainuiomata with work getting underway later this month.
Mayor Campbell Barry said funding the crew is a pragmatic and affordable way to effectively tackle environmental water quality issues in our city. "It puts us on the front foot, with people on the ground actively seeking out problems rather than responding to them."
The Knowing Your Pipes initiative was established by Wellington Water, a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO), which provides shared water network services to Hutt City Council and five other councils across the Greater Wellington region.
The new crew will seek out contamination sources, on private properties, such as faulty cross-connections between wastewater and stormwater systems, breaks in pipes and infiltration issues.
"Communities across the country are looking at the current state of water infrastructure and systems, and how this impacts freshwater quality. Council is prepared to take on these challenges, not just by planning for the long term, but also by taking immediate action where we can get rapid results.
We know that our residents will be supportive of an initiative that helps protect public health as well as the tāonga that is our river and other waterways," says Mayor Barry.
Hutt City Council joins Porirua City Council and Wellington City Council in funding Wellington Water’s Knowing Your Pipes initiative, while other Councils in the region are also considering it.
"Like our colleagues elsewhere in the region, we recognise the advantages of the shared service model for water network management. The more Councils who take up the opportunity of an investigation in their area, the more efficient and effective the programme can be overall."
With scale, Wellington Water would be able to invest in technology to support this work far more quickly than is currently possible. They have already engaged and trained new staff who will start their work in Wainuiomata, in areas that have been identified as problematic by the Global Stormwater Consent testing.
Council is also proposing to introduce a rates postponement policy, to assist those homes in the community that have significant issues identified, in the draft 10-year plan which will be consulted on over coming months.
"We understand that while the overall outcome of this project is positive, it may have a financial impact on people with identified wastewater or stormwater problems. We're working with the community to not only acknowledge the impact, but support them," says Mayor Barry.
The Knowing Your Pipes Project joins two other projects in Lower Hutt focussed on improving three waters assets and environmental water quality. The Capital Renewals Project renews pipes that need urgent attention and the Critical Asset Assessment project assesses the current state of critical waste, storm and drinking water assets, to inform planning for future maintenance and renewal.