A Bay of Islands man is "rapt" that children will be able to swim in Waitangi River without him worrying they'll fall ill from an ongoing sewage spill.
On Friday the Advocate revealed that an incorrectly connected sewage outlet meant a house in Wātea, a subdivision at Haruru, had been discharging waste into the river for at least two years — and almost certainly longer.
The outlet was upstream from a popular swimming hole and the intake for a water treatment plant supplying Haruru, Waitangi, Paihia and Ōpua.
Wātea resident Simon Harman's initial complaint to the Far North District Council in 2020 about faeces and toilet paper from the stormwater pipe fell on deaf ears, even after friend David Heller started lobbying for a fix in January this year.
At first the council told the Advocate it couldn't order immediate repairs because the offending drain was on private land.
However, within hours of the Advocate's story being published on Friday, council staff descended on the street, Harman said.
"I said to them, 'You're a bit late, aren't you?' They said, 'We're onto it now'."
On Saturday morning contractors arrived, dug up the pipes and reconnected them properly, he said. Two "suits" from the council kept an eye on the work.
"I'm just rapt that there's no more s*** going into the river, so people can use the river as it should be."
While Harman was delighted that the sewage discharge had stopped he still wanted to know how the connection to the stormwater drain had come about, and why it took so long to resolve even after the source of the sewage had been identified by dye and smoke tests.
He also disputed the council's claim that no sewage was visible when the stormwater outlet was first inspected two years ago.
Harman started raising the issue again in January this year when he saw children swimming in a water hole downstream of the sewage outflow.
The council did not respond to requests for an update on the sewage leak or repairs by edition time yesterday .
The Northland District Health Board did not respond to queries about whether the spill was a public health concern.