The flow of raw sewage that has been hounding whitebaiters fishing from the rocks on the Blaketown side of the Grey River, is unlikely to dry up until everyone has connected to Gremouth's $47 million sewerage scheme, the Grey District Council says.
On Sunday, "fresh" raw sewage poured out of the sewer outlet opposite the Blaketown Rugby Clubrooms, to the disgust of whitebaiters who had until then been enjoying a sunny afternoon's fishing.
One man, who has fished in the area for nearly 71 years, said it was like the old days when the "fresh stuff" started flowing about 2pm.
Chief executive Paul Pretorius said today the problem would not be eliminated completely until everyone was connected to the sewerage scheme.
"This is obviously a most unfortunate, and unacceptable, situation but with sewage still being discharged into the stormwater system rather than the sewer system, the problem will continue," Mr Pretorius said.
In 2012, Greymouth whitebaiters complained about a similar problem and the council assets and engineering manager Mel Sutherland said then that the old sewerage system, which mixed stormwater and wastewater, simply could not cope in the rainy season, creating overflow which was diverted to the river.
The problem was a hangover from the days when the entire town's raw sewage flowed freely into the river, and it should be rectified by the following June (2013).
Barring disruptions to service, with the new sewerage system in place there should no longer be any untreated effluent being discharged to the Grey River, Sutherland said at the time.
West Coast Whitebaiters Association president Des McEnaney said today he could not see how the association could advocate for a solution for Greymouth whitebaiters, when it seemed to be a problem caused by people not connecting to the sewerage scheme.
- Greymouth Star