An Oamaru man who walked fro' />


Brown scum from a malfunctioning sewerage plant is polluting one of New Zealand's most famous beaches.

An Oamaru man who walked from Moeraki's centennial walkway towards the Moeraki Boulders beach at low tide last week found the coastline between the boulders and the Moeraki fishing village had "brown scum all over the beach".

"The pools around the rocks were stained brown," the man said.

"There was yards of it."

The beach's giant spherical boulders, some of the best of their kind in the world, attract thousands of visitors each year.

The man said he had read that Waitaki District Council was lobbying Otago Regional Council over changing sewerage discharge consent conditions.

The Moeraki plant did not comply and changes had to be made to it and the surrounding wetland, located near the intersection of State Highway 1 and the road to the village.

The man said the sewerage scheme was obviously not working properly.

District council assets group manager Philip Bell said last week new sewerage schemes had to be set up, used, and monitored before it was known if they would meet their consent conditions. The Moeraki one did not.

Work was under way on changes now, Mr Bell said today. Like most physical things, it could take a long time but it was important to ensure the right measures were taken.

The risk to the public was not great, he said.

Sewerage schemes were usually placed well away from where people would normally go.

"The whole reason we want to fix it is to minimise public health risk.

"There shouldn't be too much of a problem."

Otago Regional Council resource management director Selva Selvarajah was not available for comment this morning.