More than 70 homes in Moerewa are having their septic tanks emptied after the weekend's big storm left them inundated and in danger of leaking sewage.

And Whangārei residents need to keep saving water as the city's reservoirs refill with treated water after the storm.

The storm, which dumped 220mm on parts of Northland from Friday night to Saturday, led to widespread flooding and damage.

One of the worst hit areas was Moerewa, which saw floodwaters inundate dozens of homes and their septic tanks.


Murray Soljak, of Northland's Civil Defence Emergency Management, said the septic tanks got filled with stormwater so there was now no room in them for any more flushing and they were a danger of overflowing raw sewage.

Soljak said the first of 70 homes had their septic tanks pumped out yesterday and the rest would have that done over the coming days. And he expects more to need pumping out too as the full extent of the storm damage is revealed.

To get the full extent of that damage Soljak urged property owners and tenants affected by the storm to get in touch with their insurance companies.

The storm also saw two of Whangārei's water treatment plants shutting down, which meant dam water could not be treated and sent to a number of water storage reservoirs around the city area.

Over the weekend Whangārei District Council put out the call for people to save water and on Monday asked for a 50 per cent reduction

Andrew Venmore, Whangārei District Council water services manager, said the savings people had made so far helped replenish the drinking water supplies, but more savings were needed until the reservoirs were up to 80 per cent full.

As at 7am yesterday Fairway Drive reservoir was 37 per cent full, Kamo 35 per cent, Onerahi 37 per cent and Anzac Rd 24 per cent.

Venmore said the Fairway Drive reservoir was about three times the size of the other ones and it was pleasing that it was up from 33 per cent full on Tuesday.


Venmore said some people may notice that their town supply drinking water tastes differently from normal, and some people have reported to the Northern Advocate that their water tastes muddy.

He said that was not uncommon after such an event, but it meant that the water had organic material in it, which gave it a taste. But, he said, the water had been treated and was safe to drink.

''It may have a bit of a different taste, but it's still been treated and is totally safe to drink.''

Venmore said if people could continue saving water for a few more days it would help the reservoirs return to normal levels.

The only major blockage on Northland's highways was on State Highway 1 through the Mangamukas which would stay closed for days, and possibly weeks, as several slips are cleared.

Moerewa was one of the worst hit places in the weekend's storm and 70 households in the town, including in Plunkett St, above, are having their septic tanks pumped out to prevent sewage overflows.
Moerewa was one of the worst hit places in the weekend's storm and 70 households in the town, including in Plunkett St, above, are having their septic tanks pumped out to prevent sewage overflows.

As Northlanders continue cleaning up after the storm the Insurance Council NZ (ICNZ) and Earthquake Commission (EQC) are urging people to contact their insurer as their first port of call to ensure the claims process is as easy and efficient as possible.


ICNZ chief executive Tim Grafton said the recovery from a flood can be extensive, with insurers and Crown entity EQC having a role in assisting the recovery of the communities affected.

For the first time, customers' private insurers will be able to manage some claims for land damage on behalf of EQC. Those customers who have suffered damage to their residential home, and have silt or debris covering their land, will be able to lodge and have their claim managed by their insurer.

"We advise all homeowners if they have damage to their home and land to contact their insurer first, who will let you know what you need to do next, how to claim and whether any of the damage is covered by EQC," Grafton said.

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