Some of Auckland’s residents are being publicly shamed by an arm of their own council, blamed for contributing to ongoing sewerage problems by washing grease down their drains.
Watercare took the extraordinary action this morning, taking to social media in targeted posts in the communities they singled out.
“Good morning to everyone,” the post read, “except people in Henderson, Māngere East, Mt Roskill, Avondale and Highland Park who’ve been pouring fats, oils and grease down the sink.”
Watercare said those suburbs were in their “bad books” and noted that the end result of pouring fats down the sink could be particularly vile.
This month’s announcement of slimy suburbs is the latest in a series of posts calling Aucklanders out. Other suburbs have previously been named and shamed.
Watercare said sewage could overflow when pipes became blocked by “fatbergs”, accumulations of fats that have hardened and coated the pipes.
“The result is an overflow of wastewater – that’s the waste from your toilet, kitchen sink, shower and washing machine combined,” they said.
Flushing with water, either hot or cold, just pushes the problem further down the pipes, Watercare said.
“Each year, it costs us about $6 million to clean up overflows caused by this behaviour. C’mon, keep your suburb off next month’s list by reusing those fats, oils and grease or binning them.
“If it isn’t soap or water, it doesn’t belong down the sink.”
“Pick on the hood day is it?” one Avondale resident asked online this morning.
Another local from the inner-west suburb criticised the direct approach, saying the “admonishing, humiliating” message would not assist Watercare in its aims.
“The big light should be shone on Watercare for their abysmal infrastructure, delayed responses and double standards,” the disgruntled resident added.
A Mt Roskill local joked that they would be deliberately pouring oil down their sink in retaliation for Watercare closing roads to traffic.
Others took a more positive tack, thanking Watercare for the reminder and sharing their own tips for ditching fat.
“I appreciate the admonishing,” one said. “It’s funny and gets the message across.”
Watercare chief customer officer Amanda Singleton told the Herald the monthly naming of suburbs sought to “empower residents” to contribute towards preventing fatbergs and sewage spills.
“Through these targeted social media posts, we aspire to render our message more pertinent and relatable to those who bear the brunt of the repercussions stemming from contaminants in the sewage system,” Singleton said.
A truly foul story emerged as Avondale residents discussed the issue, and one person shared a tale of their nightmarish neighbours.
“You think that’s bad, we live in townhouses and one of the neighbours was flushing chicken carcasses,” they wrote.
“Our neighbours thought it was acceptable to flush food scraps instead of paying for a rubbish tag.”
Chris Marriner is an Auckland-based journalist covering trending news and social media. He joined the Herald in 2003 and previously worked in the Herald’s visual team. He is not particularly greasy.