Repairs to plant may take years
PAUL GORMAN AND KEITH LYNCH
Last updated 05:00 07/04/2011
The extent of earthquake damage to the Christchurch wastewater-treatment plant has been revealed as 7000 more chemical toilets are bound for the city's eastern suburbs.
Parts of the Bromley plant suffered significant damage on February 22, and only about 30 per cent of the normal daily level of sewage is able to be processed.
City council water and waste manager Mark Christison said "phenomenal" amounts of sand and silt were clogging pipes and the plant's primary treatment tanks.
None of the secondary treatment tanks were working because machinery inside them was stuck as a result of the quake.
The oxidation ponds were also damaged, with cracked and slumped banks containing untreated water that was threatening to turn the ponds into stinking, stagnant lakes, Christison said.
Getting the treatment plant working again could take from six months to two years, he said.
About 7000 chemical toilets will be distributed to Christchurch's hardest-hit residents in the eastern suburbs this weekend.
Mayor Bob Parker said the extra toilets would be available at pickup points between 8.30am and 11.30am on Saturday.
A list of the pickup points is available on http://www.canterburyearthquake.org.nz/.
Parker urged people to use the toilets to ease the pressure on the sewerage system.