Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Poo removed from Papamoa street

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SMELLY SPILL: Fire crews responded to a human waste spill on Batty St in Papamoa.PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
SMELLY SPILL: Fire crews responded to a human waste spill on Batty St in Papamoa.PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

A code brown was called in Papamoa yesterday after a truck carrying portable toilets lost its load.

A truck that empties the portable toilets in the area collided with a builder's trailer on Batty St, knocking the valve that drops the waste out of the truck's tank.

Papamoa Volunteer Fire Brigade were first to respond to the scene yesterday afternoon, containing the spill and cordoning off the area.

Te Puke Fire Brigade were second to the scene and chief fire officer Glenn Williams said there was not a huge amount of waste, but it had been spread all over the road.

"It didn't have a very nice odour - though we've all smelt worse.

"There wasn't hundreds of litres and that was probably why it wasn't as bad as it could have been," Mr Williams said.

Read more: Shortage of Tauranga homes drives up prices

Batty St was in a new subdivision in Papamoa where a lot of construction was going on and there were plenty of portable toilets for the builders around, Mr Williams said.

The truck that accidentally released the waste was driving around sucking the waste out of port-a-loos when the collision with a trailer damaged the valve.

"It was fortunate it got noticed and the truck didn't continue driving down the road, pouring waste out and spreading it over a large area. Instead it was contained in a small cul de sac," he said.

The Papamoa crew alerted builders in the area to the incident and advised them to steer clear to avoid being contaminated by the chemicals in the waste.

The fire crews used water to hose the spill into a channel where it was sucked up by a "sucker truck".

It was fortunate it got noticed and the truck didn't continue driving down the road, pouring waste out and spreading it over a large area. Instead it was contained in a small cul de sac.
Glenn Williams, Te Puke chief fire officer

Greerton fire service also briefly attended the scene with a hazmat crew.

Tauranga City Council communication advisor Marcel Currin said the event was contained quickly and did not affect any waterways before the council's contractor, Downer, arrived to complete clean-up.

"To clean a spill you need to contain it with bunds, then use a combination of hose and sucker truck to vacuum up the spill. The area gets disinfected where needed, and nearby sumps get the sucker-truck treatment to make sure they're dry.

"The priority is to keep contamination from travelling any further through the stormwater system," he said.

Wastewater pollution incidents were more commonly the result of blockages in the wastewater system, he said. Blockages could lead to wastewater overflowing through manholes.

"If it flows into the stormwater system it can reach the harbour and estuaries, which is when temporary health warning signs need to be installed.

"Council's contractor deals with a few of these blockages every week, not many for a city this size. Fortunately not all of those overflows make it to the waterways," Mr Currin said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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