Dunedin stormwater: more differences between ORC and DCC

Dunedin residents favour a cleaner harbour and coastal environment?

### ODT Online Thu, 7 Jun 2012
Impasse over stormwater
By Debbie Porteous
Disagreement over improving the quality of stormwater could see the Dunedin City Council and the Otago Regional Council at loggerheads for some time – and may even end up in court. City council infrastructure services committee chairman Cr Andrew Noone says the regional council may be slowly changing its view, but there is a long way to go before the two councils reach a position on which they can agree. The DCC applied to the ORC late last month to renew four 35-year resource consents – expiring in November – to discharge stormwater into Otago Harbour, the ocean at St Clair and Second beaches and Andersons Bay inlet.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Geography, Media, ORC, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

105 responses to “Dunedin stormwater: more differences between ORC and DCC

  1. Ok, I’ll side with DCC here. It’s run-off water for christ’s sake, via the road or a paddock, what’s the problem? In the meantime ORC has ordered how many tonne of carrot so they can spread poison all over Otago?? Oh wait, there it is, 1000 tonnes.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 8 Jun 2012
      Concern at stormwater, sewage mix
      By Dan Hutchinson
      Some Dunedin residents are flushing their toilets straight into the sea without even being aware of it. The problem of sewerage pipes being accidentally or deliberately connected to stormwater pipes has resurfaced. The council has been delving deeply into its stormwater management as it prepares to renew resource consents, due to expire in November.
      Read more

      • ### ODT Online Thu, 28 Mar 2013
        Stormwater consent costs at least $250,000
        By Debbie Porteous
        The cost of renewing consents to discharge Dunedin’s stormwater into the sea is mounting, and the bill is expected to reach at least $250,000. The Dunedin City Council has applied to the Otago Regional Council to renew the resource consents and a hearing is tentatively scheduled for mid-April. The city council is seeking 35-year consents to change its contaminant monitoring regime and merge the 10 existing consents into four, covering the discharge points at Andersons Bay, St Clair, Port Chalmers and around the Otago Harbour basin. The city council’s current consent for discharges was issued as a five-year short-term consent to enable it to come up with a strategy that would address issues with the system’s capability and age that were making it unable to handle some run-off.
        Read more

        • ### ODT Online Fri, 31 May 2013
          35-year permits for stormwater
          By Debbie Porteous
          Consents have been granted allowing Dunedin’s stormwater to be discharged into the sea for the next 35 years. The Dunedin City Council says it will cost the city more to meet new sampling requirements, but the extra costs are not unexpected and have been budgeted for. It generally accepts the long list of conditions on the consents, and says it is unlikely to appeal an independent hearing panel’s decision, released this week. The 10 new consents cover 33 outfalls around the city.
          A proposed stormwater bylaw is to be implemented as soon as practicable.
          The DCC is also to establish a stormwater stakeholder group within a year and report annually to it on and discuss with it: progress with the implementation of each catchment plan, monitoring results, consent compliance or any other issues.
          The public would be consulted on the bylaw. It could be up to two years before it was passed.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Sat, 15 Jun 2013
          ORC unhappy about stormwater consents
          By Rebecca Fox
          Bad discharge practices could be promoted by the granting of stormwater discharge consents to the Dunedin City Council, the Otago Regional Council says. An independent panel, on behalf of the regional council as consent authority, granted consents last week for the city’s stormwater to be discharged into the sea for the next 35 years.

          The council could not appeal the panel’s consent decision.

          Council resource director Selva Selvarajah said at a committee meeting recently staff were disappointed at the decision, which was for longer than the regional council wanted and allowed for mixing after discharge.
          Read more

  2. Phil

    I suspected that was the reasoning behind the ORC’s concerns. That cross contamination has been left unchecked since forever and it’s a disgrace. The Musselburgh pumping station was always a chief offender and DCC seemed to be in no great hurry to rectify the problem. In that respect I’m very much against the notion of the ORC and the DCC combining. Having the ORC watching over the DCC ensures that, try as they might, the DCC can’t worm their way out of essential environmental protection activities such as the Tahuna upgrade. Brian Turner tried to stall it at every opportunity and Athol floated the insulting notion that it was cheaper to pay the fine than it was to do the upgrade. Think what may have happened if the DCC were both judge and jury in environmental issues. Even more money in the stadium direction.

    The carrot drops, on the other hand, belong on the national wall of shame. With the ORC contributing in no small part. Geez, even the Americans have stopped using 1080. If we had any oil we’d be prime targets for an invasion to wipe out WMD. I remember reading that 1080 was something like 7 times more toxic to dogs than it was to rabbits.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 13 Jun 2012
      On budget, although not on time
      By Debbie Porteous
      The upgrade of Dunedin’s wastewater treatment plant at Tahuna may be running behind the original schedule by a few months, but it will be delivered on budget, city councillors were told yesterday. City councillors were updated yesterday on progress on the $77 million second stage of the upgrade, which is due to be completed in September.

      The project was originally meant to be completed by this month, but was delayed for several reasons, including the late awarding of the tender to UGL Ltd, contractor recruitment and retention difficulties and difficulty obtaining local subcontractors to undertake work at various tendered rates.

      Read more

      (or that’s what DCC is saying)

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Mon, 1 Oct 2012
        Tahuna treatment plant upgrade further delayed until November
        By Debbie Porteous
        The completion of the upgrade of Dunedin’s main waste water treatment plant at Tahuna has been further delayed, as parts take longer than expected to complete. The work is part of the second stage of the upgrade to the plant, which includes secondary and tertiary water treatment and upgrading the biosolids dewatering process and the odour control system.
        Read more

        • ### ODT Online Wed, 12 Jun 2013
          Sewage plant work finished
          By Debbie Porteous
          The completion of one of the Dunedin City Council’s most expensive recent projects will be celebrated at an official opening later this month. Dunedin City Council operations manager Tony Avery said the completion of the $110 million upgrade of the Tahuna Waste Water Treatment Plant was a major part of wastewater treatment improvements the council agreed on in the early 1990s.
          Read more

        • ### dunedintv.co.nz June 26, 2013 – 6:49pm
          Dunedin waste-water system officially opened
          More than 20 years’ work costing $200 million came together today, with the official opening of an upgraded Dunedin waste-water system. Behind the speeches and ribbon cutting a group of buildings housed some impressive technology. That technology resulted in a major change to the water that enters – and leaves – the Tahuna plant.
          Ch39 Video

        • What’s behind the drainage levy on your rates bill?

          ### ODT Online Sat, 6 Jul 2013
          Cost of doing business money well spent
          By Debbie Porteous
          Dunedin ratepayers have paid more than $200 million over the past 20 years to upgrade the city’s sewage treatment systems. Dunedin has a coastline of 60-odd kilometres within its boundaries. It is part of what makes the city attractive and is highly valued for its beauty and wildlife, and for recreation. Pumping semi-treated sewage straight into the sea is not ideal, and that is why Dunedin city came up with a plan 20 years ago to overhaul its wastewater treatment system. And $200 million later, the city now has its upgraded system. It produces clear, largely bacteria-free water that is pumped out to sea, and solid waste that is either recycled to produce electricity to run the Green Island wastewater treatment plant, dumped in a landfill, or incinerated. Work remains to be done on re-using the solid waste but the aim is to eventually use more of it for energy production, producing savings that should regain some of the cost of the upgrade project. The news for ratepayers is that this infrastructure costs money to maintain and operate, so the drainage rate, which rose to cover the upgrades, is unlikely to reduce any time soon.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Tahuna Wastewater Treatment Plant – Biofilters not working

          The bacteria which normally ate ammonia and hydrogen sulphide had died off and the smell was spreading to the surrounding area.

          ### ODT Online Sat, 6 Feb 2016
          Tahuna stench sickens
          By Vaughan Elder
          South Dunedin residents are angry about a vomit-inducing smell spreading from the Tahuna wastewater treatment plant. The Dunedin City Council believes the stench, described by neighbours as being like the smell of rotting vegetables, was caused by the long period of rain being followed by hot conditions.
          Read more

          █ The smell means the plant is breaching its resource consent.

        • Elizabeth

          ### dunedintv.co.nz Tue, 9 Feb 2016
          Sewage odour subsiding
          An unpleasant odour affecting some seaside suburbs is being addressed by the Dunedin City Council. Staff at the Tahuna Wastewater Treatment Plant are confident they’ve got the issue under control, following several days of monitoring and maintenance. That’s despite not being able to zero in on a specific cause.
          Ch39 Video


          Biofilters restored and systems checked, then…..

          ### ODT Online Wed, 10 Feb 2016
          Council baffled as bad smell returns
          By Carla Green
          It’s back. The bad smell emanating from the Tahuna wastewater treatment plant has returned “with a vengeance”, a resident says. Dunedin City Council wastewater treatment manager Chris Henderson is baffled by the return of the smell. “It doesn’t make any sense,” he said last night.
          Read more

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Compare and contrast. These 2 instances of managers being sent to bed without TV are treated as if they are the same:
    “It was not the first time a council manager has found himself in trouble for speaking frankly, or accurately.
    In 2010, council Tahuna upgrade manager Brian Turner was told not to speak to media after discussing possible delays to the upgrade of Dunedin’s Tahuna wastewater treatment plant – delays which were later confirmed.
    Mr Clark’s comments came after being contacted by the ODT and questioned about the portfolio’s possible expansion, which was already in the public domain.”
    Brian Turner publicly told the truth, that there were delays to a program that was haltingly in place, on work that was necessary (though some may query whether this was the best way to achieve a desirable outcome) and had been budgeted for.
    Robert Clark appears to have investigated generated germinated and propagated his own project while keeping the council virtually rusticated. Or rugby-fixated: it’s much of a muchness.
    Did I miss seeing the bit about how he did all this [covert OR wilfully pre-empting the go-ahead] work in his own time? Or was he using the time we pay for to ramp up his own career, then publicising it widely to the public so that importance would attach to him straight away, making it more difficult for Council to give him the slapping he richly deserves.

  4. Anonymous

    The last Property Manager ended up being hired as a consultant after the Wall St project. Could be it is time for Mr Clark to move on and up in the world. Hint: getting your picture taken next to a brothel isn’t the best profile for that…

  5. Peter

    Mind you, whorehouses and hotels go hand in hand, so to speak. Being next door to each other, maybe they can share a wall…a la stadium. It’s called synergy.

  6. ### dunedintv.co.nz April 8, 2014 – 6:05pm
    New pipes go in on Queens Gardens’ makeover
    New stormwater pipes are bedding in under the Queens Gardens area, as below-ground infrastructure gets a million dollar makeover.

  7. Definite shocker, a visit from the CE “a few days later” doesn’t help all that much. Nobody at DCC was rushing to help. This isn’t ‘Flockton Basin’ but the bureaucratic INACTION of the ‘local authority’ is EXACTLY the same.

    Shame on DCC. Oh yeah, did GM Tony Avery know ??

    She had called the council many times about it in the six years they had lived there, but until last week there had been no action, she said.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 30 Apr 2014
    Family of 13 relieved to receive help
    By Debbie Porteous
    A Dunedin family of 13 is elated the city council has stepped in to help after what they say has been years of inaction over sewage-contaminated water seeping into their property after heavy rain. Nika and Shannah Taburuea’s home sits on a low point of School St, beside the Kaikorai Stream, not far from where one of the city’s few remaining sewer overflows empties into the stream in wet weather. Mrs Taburuea said that after heavy downpours, the stream flooded their section – about twice a year – with water flowing up to doors and under the house.
    Read more

  8. Elizabeth

    Re: 240 Portobello Road

    Steve and Lorraine Hawkins say the Dunedin City Council is responsible for stormwater flooding through their Otago Peninsula property. […] The couple claim the council is “responsible for the torrent – and the problems it caused – having signed off on Waverley subdivisions on the hill above their home.” (ODT)

    Mayor Cull says: “More water may be going into it for various reasons … it may be climate change for all I know. While we accept the runoff from the subdivisions may be a contributing factor, we don’t accept liability for it.”

    Council water and waste group manager Laura McElhone, in a letter to the couple in 2013, blamed the problems on climate change – citing an increase in rainfall intensity of “as much as” 82%.

    Read more: ODT: Couple battle council over drainage

    JOKE, THIS IS A FIRST —And rather facetious:
    Mayor Cull says: “We obviously have a responsibility to be fair to them, but we equally have a responsibility with ratepayers’ money.”

    • Gurglars

      Downhill runoff from a mountain is a function of Climate Change???

      If ever we needed convincing we are led by a madman, we now have it.

      Reinforced by the gullibility of employees who spout the same mantra.

      There is now no doubt that “chicken little” was a public servant.

  9. russandbev

    This is a typical DCC response to something that they have either directly or indirectly caused but they don’t want to accept accountability for.

    I found some years ago that after very heavy rain the gutters in the street above my home were filled with stormwater. This water roared round a corner, over-ran the road and tumbled down my driveway. It then flooded my garage and also ran under the foundations of the garage scouring them out.

    I investigated and found that what I thought were stormwater drains in the street above were nothing of the sort – well over 60 houses had their stormwater simply discharged into the street’s shallow gutters which eventually found their way into the nearest low point – a distant entry into a stormwater drain and my property. It took ages and a lot of effort to convince the DCC that a stormwater drain was necessary to contain stormwater and to channel it away from doing damage.

    I also got this crap about natural water courses and that channeling their stormwater was my problem and not theirs.

    So I have a lot of sympathy for the Hawkins’ in dealing with the DCC – eventually my issues were resolved but thank goodness I didn’t have to deal with some incipient greenie blaming incompetent discharge of stormwater on climate change. This has got to be grasping at straws or much worse. At some point someone is going to require the DCC to show legally and scientifically that climate change is different to weather variations and they cannot claim some unproven theory has suddenly shown itself up to the extent that they claim. How this woman in the DCC can sleep at night after blaming climate change on flooding when they have consented dozens of houses to dump stormwater in a “natural water course” would be interesting for her to answer.

    Today’s ODT has enough stories on DCC or ORC incompetence or lack of management to really open some more eyes. Trees, stormwater, cycle shambles and cockle farming.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      [C]rap about natural water courses and that channeling their stormwater was my problem and not theirs … indeed. Doesn’t anyone (apart from home-owners who get the stormwater washing through their own properties) ask how come it didn’t use-ta do dat, and now it don’t take nuthin’ but a bitty ol’ normal rain and whoosh, downhill it comes like someone diverted the friggin’ Amazon.
      Where did it all go in the old days?
      Could it have soaked into the ground, perhaps, back when there weren’t roofs and driveways preventing it reaching the ground uphill of the people who cop the roaring rainy-day rivers? Well, that’s an oddball notion, the type of disinformation spread by people who still don’t believe the Fubar has been a blessing for Dunedin’s economy. Personally I wouldn’t have no truck with folks of that stripe. Naysayers! Anti-progress nimbies, each and every one of them!

  10. Calvin Oaten

    The ODT today sure ‘dribbled a bibfull’ of DCC incompetence. First is the news that ‘council transportation group manager’ (don’t you love the titles they get) Gene Ollerenshaw has decided, while on a three month family holiday in Europe, he can no longer do the job. He of course is the last one in Dunedin to come to that conclusion. Never mind that the job allows three month breaks and salary that affords the luxury for family perks. Ruth Stokes will be pleased, as the implication (rightfully) will be that he is the cause of the ‘cock up’ with the ill-fated South Dunedin cycle ways.

    Then there is the Logan Park tree removal blunder. Ruth Stokes again copping the flak for a ‘cost blow out’ in the contract for the trees removal. It turns out that we ratepayers probably paid possibly more than double the true value. What now of Cr Vandervis’ complaints about the council’s tendering systems? It seems that the city has been ‘ripped off’ by reckless contractors recognising when they are dealing with ‘nincompoops’ and seriously lining their pockets in the process.

    Then the hapless couple on Portobello Rd, victims of stormwater damages from developments above their property. Again, lack of engineering skills in-house to not forsee the hazard of concentrated accumulated run offs from sealed driveways, roofs and streets. With the right engineering skills this would have been seen at design consent stage and the developers being compelled to mitigate the problem. But no, let it happen then obfuscate and bully the poor citizens. Mayor Cull nobly says we’ll do the right thing and negotiate a purchase of the affected property. Trouble then is one of value. The owner’s valuer says $1.12 million the DCC says $620,000 as first offer then upped to $680,000. Again, how does this discrepency arise? Just another ‘blunder’ of incompetence. Shades of the damp house debacle of the building consents signing off a flawed design. This was in Woodhaugh and took literally years to resolve, and only then due to the tenacity of the owners.

    One wonders what next will come out of the woodwork in that civic building.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Bullying is exactly what the DCC does in these disputes about damage to private property from DCC stormwater. What needs to change is DCC’s definition of a natural watercourse. Watercourses need to be quantified in some way so there’s is reasonable certainty about their capacity before subdivision stormwater can be discharged into them.

      At the moment, DCC uses a circular argument like this. If water runs or collects anywhere, or even might do so, even ephemerally, then that place is a ‘natural watercourse’. (A puddle would be included in this definition, even when dried up.) The DCC has a legal right to discharge their stormwater into a natural watercourse. A landowner must maintain their watercourse. Therefore, if there is any property damage from the water in a watercourse, it’s the landowner’s fault because they are not maintaining it properly.

      Just revisit that bit about the DCC’s legal right to discharge stormwater into a natural watercourse. Yes, they can – as long as they don’t cause damage. But it’s really difficult to hold them to account for this. There seems to be an unwritten policy of neglecting the stormwater system and then getting individual property owners to pay when there’s a problem.

      Instead of having all these unidentified supposed natural watercourses all over the place, I think the DCC should make a register of legitimate creeks and not assume that they can discharge their stormwater anywhere else. Landowners at present have no certainty whatsoever about this. (I think real watercourses should be on the property title.) The reason the DCC would hate to make any true watercourse register is because that would make clear the magnitude of the problem and how widespread and serious it is. Also the cost to the DCC to even start to address it.

      • russandbev

        Spot on Diane. The DCC would never want to define a natural water course for all the reasons you so eloquently define. In my case the DCC argument was that before there were any houses anywhere there was a valley on the slopes of Waikari that fed into the Kaikorai stream. The fact that this little valley was filled in by consented development over the years had nothing to do with anything. Mind you, at the same time I found that building inspections didn’t mean anything and if the DCC sign off building plans, inspect the building and find that it doesn’t conform to what was consented, but sign it off anyway it isn’t their fault either. I rapidly found out that NOTHING is ever the fault of the DCC – just like the myriad of much bigger decisions that they made that were never really their fault….

        • Diane Yeldon

          The ODT seems to have disallowed my comment on this. I said that it must be so embarrassing to work in the DCC water and drainage department. Because anyone with the necessary qualifications to work there would know that the principle of ‘natural servitude’ (where a property lower down must accept the natural run off from a property higher up) applies only to natural, not artificially channeled, stormwater. They would also know that councils have had a legal obligation to take into account any likely adverse effects of climate change for some years.

          I wonder why the ODT doesn’t like it. Did they think I was implying that to work for the DCC in this area you are expected to make assertions which you know are false and unfair, all so the DCC can save money on stormwater because stupid and irresponsible political decisions have been made in the past to spend too much money elsewhere. Can a job description require you to act unethically? Is this the behaviour of a professional? I would have thought asking such questions is in the public interest.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      But Calvin, “What now of Cr Vandervis’ complaints about the council’s tendering systems?” – don’t we all know by now that Cr Vandervis is, by definition, Wrong. Not only wrong but he probably pointed out the bleeding obvious too loudly and frightened the horses, not to mention the fluffy bunnies, and in the subsequent outbreak of mass whimpering his message was lost since the No 1 priority was restoring all distraught parties’ self-esteem.

  11. Elizabeth

    █ Re: 240 Portobello Road

    Latest at 39 Dunedin News – ORC is threatening to sue DCC over the stormwater issues affecting the property at 240 Portobello Road.
    Read tomorrow’s ODT.

  12. Elizabeth

    This really is the Nth time Mayor Cull should be forced to resign. Bets?

    Any resort to Court of course will be in the chief executive’s name, I suppose.

  13. Peter

    Talking about stormwater, the rain has been pretty constant today. I wonder how things are holding up on the flat.
    Never fear, the last big rain was a once in a 100 year event…or was that 150 year event?

  14. Elizabeth

    Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)

    Rows of houses, all bearing down on me
    I can feel their blue hands touching me
    All these things into position
    All these things we’ll one day swallow whole
    And fade out again and fade out

    This machine will, will not communicate
    These thoughts and the strain I am under
    Be a world child, form a circle
    Before we all go under
    And fade out again and fade out again

    etc etc

    [From the Album: The Bends 1995. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Thom Yorke has suggested that the song was inspired by the 1991 novel The Famished Road, written by Ben Okri, and that its music was inspired by R.E.M. …. “Our fans are braver than I to let that song penetrate them, or maybe they don’t realize what they’re listening to. They don’t realize that Street Spirit is about staring the fucking devil right in the eyes and knowing, no matter what the hell you do, he’ll get the last laugh and it’s real and true. The devil really will get the last laugh in all cases without exception, and if I let myself think about that too long, I’d crack. I can’t believe we have fans that can deal emotionally with that song. That’s why I’m convinced that they don’t know what it’s about.”]

    [HD] Radiohead – Street Spirit (Glastonbury 2003)

  15. Elizabeth

    Hard to believe there are no comments to either of these ODT stories today:
    Couple battle council over drainage
    DCC admits tree contract blunder

    Although Diane tells us at least one comment was received and not published, hers.

    Funny that, Barry Stewart.

  16. Russell Garbutt

    I also sent a brief comment which never appeared – seem to be very few comments now being published on this site.

    • Elizabeth

      Maybe we have to use their Facebook page….

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Nah, just leave it to the remaining followers of comments on local issues to make this their daily check-up site for what’s going on and what are the alternative views about it.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      How to make one’s newspaper irrelevant, step by step………

      • Diane Yeldon

        ODT has done a good job reporting in the issues at 240 Portobello Rd. The reporter seems to have been very persistent in trying to get credible explanations from the DCC. Today’s follow-up with the ORC is even better.
        I wonder if there is a story in how many local property owners this ‘DCC stormwater discharge into a private watercourse causing property damage’ scenario has adversely affected over the last ten years or so. The DCC has been picking off vulnerable people one by one. However, Dunedin being a city of hills and valleys, it’s quite likely it’s a majority of land owners who are potentially affected. I suggested in my comment to ODT that, as these stormwater problems inevitably become worse, this majority is going to be anything but silent. I would very much like to support anyone going through this nightmare of what might happen when it rains, not being able to afford to either fix their property or able to sell it and feeling powerless to do anything while their property further deteriorates – having been through it myself.

        • russandbev

          Diane, I think that the ODT has only gone so far and has once again fallen short at crucial steps. Once they had the written claim from a DCC officer involved that there had been an 82% increase in rainfall, it would have taken but a moment or two to show that this claim was absolute rubbish. The yearly stats for Dunedin rainfall are available from a number of sources including the ORC or the Met Office. Once the DCC claim has been shown to be rubbish then the DCC stance of “nothing to do with us” when it comes to putting a whole heap of stormwater from housing and street development into an old water course and not expecting any adverse effects is able to be effectively shown up. For reasons that are not clear yet, the ODT is refusing to post comments on these DCC stories despite the stories being “open”. Wonder why?

          Seems to me that the Hawkins’ have an excellent case for punitive damages against the DCC for forcing them to go to the Small Claims Court, for damage to their property and for personal stress.

        • Gurglars

          Dave Cull’s property is unaffected he converted the problem into free water for his residence, the balance goes onto Portobello Road.

  17. Elizabeth

    1-0 to ORC, of course. Resounding win. Thanks, Fraser McRae.

    DCC claims increase in rainfall intensity of up to 82%. ORC says this is a “rather interesting” use of statistics.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 25 Aug 2015
    ORC warns DCC over stormwater
    By Chris Morris
    The Otago Regional Council says it could take the Dunedin City Council to court over stormwater problems on an Otago Peninsula property. The warning came from ORC director of policy planning and resource management Fraser McRae yesterday after the Otago Daily Times revealed the plight of Steve and Lorraine Hawkins.
    Read more

  18. Calvin Oaten

    Interesting how the DCC front man Graham McKerracher said the ‘stormwater’ system above the Hawkins’ property had been “appropriate” when built in 1975, but had “gradually become inadequate”. That was because rainfall intensities had “changed significantly” since then, increasing the flow and velocity of stormwater, he said. To the Hawkins’s he stated the increase was up to 82%! That of course would be due to “Climate Change”, the mantra Mayor Cull and Cr MacTavish have been preaching for too long now, despite no empirical evidence to support their arguments, other than the hotly disputed overly politicised UN’s IPCC unsubstantiated claims.

    Interesting again how the ORC’s Fraser McRae denies any knowledge of this excessive claim, and challenges Mr McKerracher to substantiate his figures and records. I would back the ORC on this one, as rivers and the monitoring for flood mitigation is the core function of what was the former Otago Catchment Board. It would have records of substance going back decades. Watch here for “stunned silence” as Dave Cull will be again embarrassed. This serious shortage of competency is showing up in all manner of directions.

    • Diane Yeldon

      McKerracher put his foot it by stating that the uphill stormwater system, which I assume is the DCC’s property and so their responsibility (keeping it working is called ‘maintenance’), had gradually become inadequate. Because he effectively admitted fault. Very strange for someone in what amounts to a professional spokesperson/ public relations role to make such a blue. But perhaps too many severely critical public remarks about DCC staff’s performance might make them all run away. And what would we do then?

      • Elizabeth

        Long before now it might’ve been fathomed by senior management that underlings should probably not be spokespeople for Council – not the DCC Comms machine or water and waste group manager – or indeed the mayor.

        Someone at DCC has to step up to the plate and offer the affected property owners at 240 Portobello Road some civility tied to rigorous research of the facts from which to offer workable solutions to their plight that do not include undervaluing private property.

        Where is the Chair of Infrastructure Services Committee (Cr Kate Wilson) in all this; and the Chair of Planning and Regulatory Committee (Cr Benson-Pope) ??

        DCC should meet its infrastructural obligations and in so doing meet ORC’s statutory requirements. Mind-numbingly expensive, if not impossible…..

        Annual rates at 3.8% seem fit to explode – stormwater systems, coastal protection work, pipe renewals, ridiculously expensive cycleways, Central City Plan, 2GP processes, dot dot dot.

        The freshly minted Long Term Plan 2015/16 – 2024/2015 is already proved a deficient budgetary document.

      • Gurglars

        It’s bloody simple Diane, we would get rid of the $15,000 cumulative debt per annum per person and we would get rid of an incompetent outfit!

        We possibly could then afford to advertise for an expert engineer, an expert waste and wash water executive, an expert sewage executive and a couple of tradesmen. We would be shot of the dog control vehicles and their drivers, the traffic light empire builders etc etc ad infinitum.

        If you want me to continue please provide your support for any other department, particularly the transport, car theft, parking theft and car maintenance departments, whom unbelievably still exist!

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Calvin, I think you’re wrong to criticize this: “the ‘stormwater’ system above the Hawkins’ property had been “appropriate” when built in 1975, but had “gradually become inadequate” “.
      Stormwater system shrinkage does not seem improbable to me. I personally have experienced “wardrobe shrinkage” where clothes that used to fit perfectly undergo shrinkage while stored, probably as a result of atmospheric moisture and dryness, clearly caused by climate change.

  19. Elizabeth

    Via 39 Dunedin News:

    ODT says DCC is facing a $1M bill to fix stormwater issues affecting 240 Portobello Road – see tomorrow’s newspaper.

    Hmm, less Greater Dunedin Cr Thomson’s disgusting promotion of $1M rates money to Otago Cricket Association (professional cricket) for lights.

  20. Calvin Oaten

    I think the whole DCC organisation is an orchestra that ‘plays by ear’. The trouble is Dave Cull has lost the tuning fork.

  21. Elizabeth

    russandbev’s comment made on Monday morning at ODT Online was published today at http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/353397/couple-battle-council-over-drainage#comment-75080

    Comment too, from hawst this afternoon – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/353397/couple-battle-council-over-drainage#comment-75131

    Hawst (of 240 Portobello Road) again, at today’s ORC ‘retort’ story:

    Nothing sticks to the DCC
    Submitted by hawst on Tue, 25/08/2015 – 12:31pm.

    There is something satisfying about all this coming out into the open. We have been dealing with this over a period of 20 years as it got worse and worse. Council just basically ignored us. Only when it suddenly began causing our driveway to collapse did we draw a line in the sand and demand that they do something. The first thing council did was blame us. We got various responses including:

    1. Caveat emptor – (let the buyer beware)
    2. We are entitled to put our water into a natural watercourse, so anything that comes out of our pipe is your problem
    3. The principle of Natural Servitude (look it up)
    4. Roading department told us off for allowing the water to discharge onto their road reserve below our property
    5. it is our fault because our land is unstable
    6. we are not maintaining our watercourse
    7. we have dammed the watercourse by causing our culvert to become blocked with mud, rocks and debris – washed down by the uncontrolled stormwater of course
    8. we have not taken steps to mitigate the damage (how I don’t know).

    The list goes on and on, just bullies really.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Today in ODT, more bullying from the DCC, talking about the possibility of using the Public Works Act to force sale of the Portobella Rd property. DCC’s attitude towards the ORC? “How dare you try to tell us what to do!”
      Now it risks becoming all about who ‘wins’ – the DCC or the ORC.

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    I noticed on my ORC bill a charge for flood protection. At last I understand why the flooding in South Dunedin wasn’t the DCC’s fault for not cleaning mud traps or installing drains sufficient to deal with the increased run-off from increased roads, roofs and driveways, compared with the grass and shrubs and trees that used to drink rain and make run-off slow, back when the system was designed. Of course it’s not the DCC’s fault! Hardly anything is, unless there’s a dead guy wot done it. No, it’s the ORC that should have been managing South Dunedin. Boo, hiss etc.
    Yours sincerely,
    Gullible Culltist.

  23. Public Wonkers

    I see that the council has reached for the bottom draw and dragged out that old chestnut, the Public Works Act. It doesn’t matter if they are right, wrong or indifferent. They have always got the old bully boy tactic of threatening to use the Public Works Act to show their muscle. Even if it cost twice as much of ratepayers funds to do it. WE WILL NOT BE BEATEN.

  24. Elizabeth

    Dunedin City Council RATBAGS – bring in a Commissioner, so many council-driven bottlenecks to fair and reasonable infrastructure solutions for our city, our residents. No expert in-house senior engineer; no brains; a mess of potential litigation at the door of the Chief Executive – at the dreadful mercy of Cull and MacTavish pushing their boats/agendas, holding the staff to ransom. Thus is impoverished, incompetent, defective and corrupt leadership, NAKED truth.

    Threaten the citizens too many times based on complete falsehood, lies, and diabolical amateurism, see the tide change politically, surely, at Dunedin.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 26 Aug 2015
    Council raises spectre of Act
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council says it may resort to the Public Works Act to acquire a property facing stormwater problems on Otago Peninsula. But it appears the council could face a sizeable bill, depending on the option it pursues to resolve the dispute at 240 Portobello Rd.
    Read more

  25. Elizabeth

    Wary of arbitration while parties’ land valuations $440,000 apart.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 27 Aug 2015
    Stormwater couple insist on fair deal
    By Chris Morris
    The couple at the centre of a long-running battle with the Dunedin City Council over stormwater problems on their Otago Peninsula property say they may reconsider negotiating a deal. […] The Hawkins said they would meet their lawyer next week to have another discussion about entering arbitration with the council to try to reach an agreed settlement.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Coincidence, mention in another topic (subdivision) of valuer who highly valued the incomplete stadium….. a “preferred contractor”?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Stormwater couple insist on fair deal” and indeed this is supposed to be integral to the process of acquiring property using the Public Works Act. It’s based on willing seller, willing buyer. Often this is not the case though. Would these people willingly leave the home and the land they had intended to develop – their purchase of the land years earlier being possibly their “retirement savings” plan? They have had years of trouble, caused by the DCC’s ineptitude in consenting development uphill of them without bearing in mind that this would inevitably result in more of the rain that falls running rapidly downhill. Earth with plants growing on it absorbs water, and slows discharge of what it cannot absorb immediately, not many people will have failed to see this compared with street water running along the gutters and in the spouting of their houses. The DCC – eh? What water?

      No, can’t be that, it’s because rainfall is up 82%.

      Locally, I guess, uphill of the Hawkins’ house. Not at my place. That’s because I recycle and have a compost heap and only drive one vehicle at a time. Climate change has bypassed the O’Thermia residence…

      …but enough gloating and showing off our green halo. My point is that as unwilling sellers forced to abandon their home because of the (in)actions of the DCC and their years of being bullshitted and ignored, years of worry and despair, they are owed payment on the high side of valuation. I’m not keen on heaving sackfuls of our rates money around willy-nilly. However when the DCC “done them wrong” there is a good reason – for a change – to pay well above the minimum. Goodness knows anyone who keeps up with this blog is sickeningly aware of sacks of money lost, other bags and boxes and plain brown wrapped bundles of foldies tossed into professional sports-associated bottomless pits. Then there was the cost of avoiding a winnable legal stoush with 2 aging sports-ass’d personages who could spot a crumple zone at 100 paces around a corner. And who could forget the DCC’s hobbles still awaiting delivery of the mayoral camel?

      • Tom

        The Hawkins’ should do quite well out of the council. If the Dukes Road North Taieri recent purchases by the council is an indication. 25% above valuation. Rather a generous settlement with ratepayers funds.

        • Elizabeth

          Tom, why exactly have ‘we’ bought property in Dukes Road at near or supposed market value ? Who owned it before DCC, and have they gone on to buy a section off Sydney, or something…..

      • russandbev

        There is a well established precedence for the DCC to pay well over the odds for land. I can recall seeing a deed of sale document for land required for the new rugby stadium signed off at $150k and then the figures were scrubbed out and the price altered to, I think, $550k. Nothing else changed but the price. So the DCC can, through its shonky agent, the CST, suddenly approve a HUGE increase in ratepayers’ money paid out to an individual for land under the stadium. And remember that little recipient of more DCC/CST largesse, John Farry esq getting his “piss in the bucket” of close on $2m for more of this land that they so fortunately chose to purchase? Then the ORFU with Carisbrook?

        Tons of precedence for individuals to screw the ratepayers aided and abetted by City Hall. The problem is that the Hawkins’ don’t own land wanted for professional rugby, nor do they hold it in trust for some of Dunedin’s “prominent businessmen”. So they will be dealt to harshly and bullied until they have no option but to accept what they are told the DCC is willing to pay for their land.

        Then we have the Delta cockups that never lost any money for the eager participants in the “lessons to be learned” fiasco, but did result in huge write-offs for the ratepayers.

        The DCC has to be one of the most suspect local bodies in the land for their long history of looking after their mates while screwing the rest. Too busy doing that sort of stuff rather than compiling an asset register of vehicles.

        Oh, and by the way, anyone notice that the regret of the ODT Sports Editor now off to Oamaru in not better investigating the ORFU finances? Not that he wasn’t told a few dozen times of the substance of those frauds.

        {See today’s ODT, page 39, ‘The Clutch’ by Hayden Meikle, the spineless. -Eds}

    • Gurglars

      A very impressive and apt CV. No mention at all of PR training.

      Why then given her experience and previous planning expertise would she not say-

      The DCC cocked up?

  26. Simon

    I see that the ORC and the DCC are getting into bed together on the stormwater issue on the Peninsula. Neither want to attack the cause. That is the DCC consent that allowed residential subdivision that has increased the stormwater run off, but want to take the cheaper option of destroying the lifestyle of those who have to put up with the effects of this dodgy consent. The ORC abdicated their responsibilities when they allowed the DCC to approve the subdivision, without ensuring the the effects of the runoff would be no more than minor. They now appear to be working together to attack the problem on the property of 240 Portobello Road, instead of attacking the problem where it originates. At the subdivision above them.

    • I doubt very much that the DCC and the ORC are allies here. More that the ORC is standing close by with a big stick behind its back, which the DCC is well aware of. The DCC has been dumping its stormwater all over the place for years, with the ORC telling them (from time to time when they got round to it) that DCC needed to tidy up its act and get Resource Consents to do it, instead of labelling every nook and cranny ‘a watercourse’ and also claiming spurious ‘existing use rights’ which cannot possibly give them any right to cause damage.

      The ORC ‘outranks’ the DCC, in the sense that the Regional Plan takes precedence over the District Plan, and the past institutional culture of the DCC was for that to rankle, being run, as it was, at a high level, by the power-mad. Let’s hope both the ORC’s inertia and the DCC’s arrogance are in the process of becoming things of the past.

      Well, that’s the way I read it anyway. Perhaps others know more background on this.

      • Elizabeth

        Diane, you are correct ~!!

        By the way, let me thank you for your well-informed, carefully considered recent comments and opinions at What if?

        Much appreciated.

        • Very kind and re-assuring words, Elizabeth. I am a retiring book-worm by nature but the thought of people abusing power and bullying others with it makes me see RED!

      • Interesting question, too, whether the ORC had any responsibility for the stormwater provisions for the subdivision proving, over time, to be inadequate, probably something which could have been foreseen at the time. Although I don’t know the details in this case, I think the DCC made a habit of allowing these things to be done on the cheap.

        The ORC, in my view didn’t have any responsibility at the time. However, as soon as the excessive stormwater discharge began to cause damage, then I think ORC had a responsibility to see it was stopped, by court action if necessary. They didn’t do this but if it had been a private party causing the damage, rather than the DCC, then I can’t help thinking they probably would have.

        I certainly got no support from the ORC. They just said the ‘thing’ in question was NOT a watercourse and so no business of theirs, whereas the DCC said it WAS a watercourse – although completely and very deeply underground, piped over seventy years ago, at the time of subdivision, with proper consents – and yet still, according the DCC, ‘an unnamed tributary of the Kaikorai Stream’. Neither ORC or DCC seemed to care about the ambiguity. To make this worse, a river is not defined in the RMA in any terms of size, and the word ‘watercourse’ is not used (as far as I remember). So it’s very hard for people to be clear about what they are talking about when it comes to what are, in practical terms, ‘stormwater drains’, and who has responsibility for what. And, of course, most of all, who should pay.

  27. Elizabeth

    The council [DCC] has refused to accept liability […] DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose, contacted last night […] declined to discuss issues of liability.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 28 Aug 2015
    Councils to resolve stormwater problems
    By Chris Morris
    The Otago Regional Council says it will regularly meet the Dunedin City Council until stormwater problems on an Otago Peninsula property are resolved. The comment came from ORC director of policy planning and resource management Fraser McRae after a “productive” meeting between senior staff from both councils yesterday.
    Read more

  28. Wingatui Flyer

    The ORC were recently caught out on a consent that they approved in the Wingatui area. They approved a stormwater pipe that was too small, and only after a lot of pressure did they relent and withdrew the consent. If it had not been for someone who was able to stand their ground and preserver, none of this would have seen the light of day. This raises the question, if this consent had gone unnoticed, and the developer had moved on. Who would have been held responsible for any flooding that may have occurred? Because of the consented undersized stormwater pipe that would have been buried out of sight. What could have been called a ORC coverup.

  29. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 2 Sep 2015
    Arbitration move in stormwater damage dispute
    By Chris Morris
    There are signs of progress in the long running dispute over stormwater damage to an Otago Peninsula property. Steve and Lorraine Hawkins, of 240 Portobello Rd, met their lawyer on Monday to discuss entering arbitration with the Dunedin City Council.
    Read more

  30. Elizabeth

    Council reaches agreement with Steve and Lorraine Hawkins, of 240 Portobello Rd, to enter binding arbitration.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 26 Nov 2015
    Dispute solution will cost council
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council has agreed to cover tens of thousands of dollars of costs as part of a wider deal to resolve a three-year stormwater dispute on Otago Peninsula. But the bill is expected to be just the start for the council, with a sale price to buy the property at the centre of the dispute, and a potential $250,000 bill to fix the flow of water to follow.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Tue, 22 Dec 2015
      Delay in arbitration ‘wearying’
      By Chris Morris
      The couple locked in a long-running dispute over stormwater with the Dunedin City Council face another setback days out from Christmas. Steve and Lorraine Hawkins, of 240 Portobello Rd, had reached agreement with the council to enter binding arbitration to resolve the dispute over stormwater problems at the property. […] However, Mr Hawkins yesterday told the Otago Daily Times the hearing had been delayed due to the unavailability of one party.
      Read more

      • Hype O'Thermia

        “Unavailability of one party” vs “Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose, speaking late last month, stressed both sides wanted the dispute resolved “as quickly as we can””.
        There’s nobody else who can act as deputy? Like for instance, present the information held by the missing person – or is it material that exists only within that person’s skull, nothing written or recorded in any media?
        Goodness gracious, think what a pickle they’d all be in were the missing person to be, gods forbid, hit by a bus or abducted by aliens.

    • Elizabeth

      “What we got was disappointing, but I’m really happy to be out of there. Every time it rains now, we smile.” –Steve Hawkins

      Wed, 4 Jan 2017
      ODT: Stormwater dispute settled
      Steve Hawkins no longer fears the sound of rain. Instead, he feels like a weight has lifted, after a nearly $1million settlement ended a four-year fight with the Dunedin City Council over stormwater problems on his Otago Peninsula property. But the 69-year-old still faces the prospect of living out of a container and a garage, and working into his 70s, while rebuilding on a new property at Alexandra. And the DCC still faces a strict timetable to fix problems at the property, which it now owns, or risk a prosecution by the Otago Regional Council, DCC chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose has confirmed. Cont/

  31. Calvin Oaten

    Oh boy, are the chickens coming home to roost in flocks. Ever since Jim Harland made the decision to disband and sell off what was the DCC in house engineering department it has been all downhill. Consultants and contractors have manipulated the staff with the fancy titles but no field nous consistently to set up these situations. In this case the supervision of design and planning for the collection of, and effective disposal of stormwater for the subdivision above the Hawkins’ property is a case in point. Incompetence leads to overconfidence when covered by a fancy title, sets the scene for what is the position now. The Hawkins’ vindicated, the CEO making the best of a very expensive ‘cock up’ but blessed in the knowledge that it is the ratepayers who are the fall guys not her nor any staff. The St Clair seawall is the biggest running sore but the June floods are up there as well with the Broad Bay road restoration. 600 plus staff and still no ability to avoid repetitions of these type of disasters. ‘Jimbo’ has a hell of a lot to answer for, but so have his successors.

    • Diane Yeldon

      I agree with you, Calvin. Jim Harland needs to be held accountable for being a very poor CEO and taking actions and making decisions which were way outside the proper brief of a council CEO.

  32. Elizabeth

    Let’s not forget potential stormwater issues for 259 Malvern Street (LUC-2014-631) raised by Jeff Dickie recently:

    27.8.15 DCC: Non-notified resource consent Leith Valley 19-lot subdivision #ULCA

  33. Diane Yeldon

    Now I’m worrying that I might be sued for defamation by Mr Harland. So I want to add that I am very sorry if I gave the impression that I was saying anything defamatory. I certainly didn’t intend to. Just making fair comment on local political issues with my honestly held opinion.

  34. Gurglars

    One would hope he sued someone, the defence to defamation is the truth and I for one would love to see a legal debate on the Harland legacy.

    Simply a trend towards a $15,000 debt per ratepayer would be a good starting point.

  35. photonz

    Just posted to the ODT website –

    “Taking the kids to school this morning, the drain at the end of our road is blocked and water is flowing across the street. So I started counting blocked drains on my short journey to Queens and Tahuna schools. Grand total – 14 blocked drains, including three bad enough for large amounts of water to be flowing right across the street.

    Similarly a relative’s business in town has been flooded several times, every time because of blocked drains. Often they are left with the choice of going out in the rain to unblock it themselves, or hiring a private contractor to suction-pump it.

    Because even though the DCC know it’s a problem, they still don’t maintain it.

    Do the DCC not realise that all they do is make themselves look like either incompetent fools or liars, when they make the laughable claim that the drains are well maintained and do not contribute to flooding?”

    • Elizabeth

      Photo evidence sent to ODT would be brilliant. Or next time it rains.

      • photonz

        Several more blocked drains seen on the way into town, including two so bad the water is flowing right across the road. And it wasn’t even raining very hard at that stage.

        At least three of those flood across the road very time it rains hard – ie 10-20 times a year.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Couldn’t we – community people – set up “drain monitors” to clear our nearest drain of the leaves and trash, and phone the council when it’s serious, I mean when the cleared grating won’t let any more water down?
          Sometimes DIY is best. Calvin is right about the amount of stuff that gets trapped by parked cars and stays there unless manually removed, and when a car is not used – perhaps unusable until repairs can be done – it may be blocking the gutter for weeks.
          For council to keep totally on top of preventive clearing would be almost impossible, especially in areas like the student ghetto where fast food wrappers and all manner of non-tree stuff block the gratings in no time flat. I have a friend who has – initially to prevent flooding of her own path – taken to being Drain Monitor. First raindrop, she’s out there removing the latest rubbish and leaves. It works.
          Our street was swept recently, all that appeared to have landed in the gutter since then was a small scattering of leaves. But even that small amount has half-covered the grating. I’m going along later to remove them because if I don’t the next rain will bring more down, including leaves and twigs that have been washed into the gutter by this last rain, then it will be totally blocked.
          I don’t mean to exonerate the DCC, it should do a lot better. For one, if it stops paying for non-cleaning mudtank cleaners it could give a voucher every year, perhaps admission to the Butterflies at Otago Museum, to each Drain Monitor and still be winning, even after paying for mudtank emptiers that actually do the work in return for the pay.

        • Elizabeth

          Only thing is Hype, as good and generous as that may sound, the rates we pay DO cover the ongoing scrutiny and maintenance and it is not the community who should be burdened with doing the Council contractors’ jobs. This is BASIC city infrastructure services. Neglected. BUCK STOPS with the chief executive.

        • Elizabeth

          Spectacular lack of maintenance. We need Cr Vandervis to get out and about.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Fair call, Elizabeth, but if they’re into “outsourcing” jobs – to companies that don’t perform – why not outsource this small part of the job to locals? I suggested volunteers rewarded with a token of appreciation, but you’re right, we do pay for this in our rates, so let’s have paid Drain Monitors.
          One thing’s for sure, it wouldn’t be hard to quickly identify who hadn’t done the work they were paid for!

  36. Gurglars

    photonz they know they are fools and liars. At least the spokespeople and their scriptwriters. The evidence continues daily and is overwhelming.

    It is clear that the mantra now a legal certainty, since the Kaipara judgement, is that we do not care what ratepayers think or want we are omnipotent.

  37. photonz

    Several more blocked drains seen later on Friday and also more on Saturday, including some so bad they were flooding right across the road.

    And today in the ODT we have the Mayor slapping ratepayers across the face again with the laughable claim that rate rises are due to rises in the cost of bitumen and pipes.

    Considering how much is spent on bitumen and pipes, compared to wages and interest, that sounds [like as] big a lie as “the drains are properly maintained”.

    The ODT should call Mayor Cull on this – because blaming year after year of rate rises on the costs of bitumen and pipes sounds like a big fat lie.

    • Elizabeth

      After reading your alerts to blocked drains here, photonz, I emailed the editor Cc Dave Cannan, seeking camera coverage of the blocked drains…. might have to wait for the next downpour. No reply as yet but I will follow up.

  38. Lyndon Weggery

    Elizabeth – very interesting article in today’s ODT about South Dunedin flooding by Neil Johnstone of Macandrew Bay. He is rightly zeroing in on inadequate infrastructure and the Council managers were “floundering” to give the impression at the 30 November Council meeting that they had everything under control. Rising groundwater level on the South Dunedin Flat is a universally accepted issue and the Beca Report wisely makes the point that while the underground pipes supress the rising groundwater level for the moment their deteriorating condition will make them less effective-hence a “double whammy” and a perfect storm for the next flooding God forbid. Furthermore the DCC stand indicted for failing to implement the recommendations of the Three Waters Strategy as formally adopted by Council in 2010 where all these problems in South Dunedin are addressed in Catchment detail and good solutions recommended.

    I have already encouraged certain Councillors to make sure this problem is flagged and addressed with adequate funding when they all come together for their end of January 2016 workshop to prepare the 2016/17 draft budget. They know we are watching them like hawks as quite frankly their re-election chances next October depend on what they do. This will be the major election issue – mark my words!!!

    One further thing watch the DCC water managers sound the alarm about the increasing drought situation on DCC water levels early next year and then reflect on why (in terms of the same Three Waters Strategy) nothing has been done in the last 5 years to increase the City’s water storage capacity. We are still by and large “run of the river”. Also pipe leakage has only dropped from 21% in 1995 to 15% in 20 years – again illustrating the sad state of our pipes.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks for your opinion Lyndon. However, you may be overstating your individual influence with the Council/councillors. I would also stress the Beca report is not pure gospel and should never be treated as such.

      Cull’s flood remarks a ‘mishmash’
      Opinion by Neil Johnstone
      ….In support of his comments, Mr Cull mentions reports and studies in a scatter-gun approach.
      The result is, in my opinion, a mishmash of personal, unqualified opinion and misinterpretation that should carry little weight but, regrettably, will unnecessarily alarm South Dunedin residents and inevitably depress their property values.


    • JimmyJones

      Lyndon: In your comments about the DCC Flood you have a few things wrong:
      Rising groundwater level on the South Dunedin Flat is a universally accepted issue: Dave Cull has been dishonest in repeating this misinformation. His voice is part of the DCC flooding communications plan and it is in his interest to convince voters that the flooding definitely wasn’t caused by DCC incompetence under his leadership. There are no measurements that shows that the South Dunedin groundwater has shown any significant rise. It is wrong to say that groundwater levels are rising when there is no supporting evidence. Dave Cull’s word is not good enough. Be aware that the DCC flood report makes no claim that groundwater levels have increased. Dave says that “the evidence is overwhelming” (Listener 9-1-16), but this is just him desperately trying to keep his job.
      ~the underground pipes suppress the rising groundwater level for the moment their deteriorating condition will make them less effective~: you have this backwards – the bad condition of the stormwater and sewerage (“wastewater”) pipes means that they help keep the groundwater low. The problem is that when these buggered pipes are replaced that this drainage effect is lost. The BECA report is fairly primitive and they don’t consider the effect of the leaking water supply pipes which is pumping up the groundwater level.
      — There are problems with the South Dunedin 3-Waters, but you haven’t said which ones you are concerned about. You need to be specific.
      — With the Draft Annual Plan finalised, notice that our councillors have cut back their spending on improvements and renewals for each of the 3 waters compared to what they decided in the Long Term Plan. This shows us how much they care about the citizens of the city.

      • Elizabeth

        Useful, thanks for that JimmyJones.

        I note that in Bruce Hendry’s letter to CEO Bidrose, dated 12 June 2015, he says:

        “I do not believe rising sea levels to be a cause [of the flooding] with a sealed and pumped system. Rising ground water levels could be caused by us installing a sealed stormwater system where only private stormwater drains or mudtanks are [the] only way water can get picked up. It replaced an old system of unjointed pipes that probably acted as field drains that would have kept the water level down. I wrote to you in June 2014 about this.”

        Source: Kerr, Elizabeth LGOIMA Correspondence Hendry and Williams 2015

        [my words in square brackets]

  39. Calvin Oaten

    It would seem that both Lyndon’s and Dave Culls opinions are a classic case of a little bit of knowledge being a dangerous thing. In Cull’s case it seems that he wants all the Climate Change dire predictions to be true despite evidence aplenty that this is far from the truth. Just keep the people in fear and trust in Dave to see them through is the motive. Beca adds fuel to the fire, and use their professional reputations in order to ensure future design and contract commissions of financial benefit. Cynical exploitation of a gullible population knowing full well that the IPCC and CRUs theories are based on non peer reviewed, computer models which are not bringing the results predicted on either temperature nor sea level rise. And that is due to the flat refusal of the IPCC to release details of the models input data. That the council seems to be sleepwalking to this tune is frightening and sad for Dunedin.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Cynical exploitation of a gullible population knowing full well that the IPCC and CRUs theories are based on non peer reviewed, computer models which are not bringing the results predicted on either temperature nor sea level rise.”
      Calvin, I don’t share your cynicism. I think what usually happens is that people who believe stay with the company / university department / pressure group and advance within that realm. Those that don’t, don’t.
      Thus “climate scientists” agree that…..(etc).
      People who mutter “bollocking nonsense” become geologists and engineers and bakers and novelists.

  40. Elizabeth

    Dunedin City Council – Media Release
    Efforts continue to fix Tahuna odour

    This item was published on 10 Feb 2016

    The focus is shifting to another part of the process as the Dunedin City Council tries to solve odour problems at its major wastewater treatment plant. Flushing and cleaning work carried out from late last week appeared to have the problem under control yesterday, but last night the “rotten egg” smell from the Tahuna Wastewater Treatment Plant resurfaced.

    Tahuna Plant Operations and Maintenance Manager Chris Henderson says, “We thought the problem was with one part of the biological process, but now it appears it may be with another part so we are turning our attention to that. We know this is a real nuisance for people in the Tainui area. We apologise for the time it is taking to get the problem sorted and we thank residents for their patience.”

    This part of the sewage treatment is a delicate biological process and staff are having to work through the different components to see what might be causing the smell. “Unfortunately, this is not a mechanical or electrical issue where we can fit new equipment to fix the problem. A biological process is more complicated than that.”

    The issue surfaced at the start of last week and the smell is coming from two of the plant’s four bio-filters. The other two bio-filters are working normally. “This part of the treatment process relies on bacteria and it’s important to keep them happy. They can be very sensitive to changes in weather and other conditions so we are trying to make sure they have the best conditions possible so we get the best results.”

    As part of the work carried out, distribution pipes have been water blasted and cleaned, and then inspected via remote camera. Moisture and pH levels have also been checked. There was very little smell yesterday, but it returned in the evening and staff are trying to work out why. Mr Henderson says the bacteria should be operating effectively so it appears they are being overloaded. In response, staff are trying to reduce the amount of gas generated. This will make sure the bacteria that consume the gas have the right conditions they need to thrive. It may take a few days to see if this helps.

    The DCC is also seeking expert advice and continuing some of the flushing work to try to reduce odour levels in the meantime. “We are doing our best to get this problem sorted as quickly as possible and we will keep residents informed about what’s happening.”

    Contact Chris Henderson, Plant Operations and Maintenance Manager Tahuna Wastewater Treatment Plant on 477 4000.

    DCC Link

  41. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 11 Feb 2016
    ‘Elimination process’ to stop Tainui stench
    By Vaughan Elder
    The source of the stench emanating from the Tahuna wastewater treatment plant remains a mystery. Dunedin City Council wastewater treatment manager Chris Henderson said, as of yesterday afternoon, the stench had gone, but until the source of the problem was found he remained unsure whether it would return.
    Read more + Video

  42. Anonymous

    ORC to enforce the consent conditions, right?

  43. Elizabeth

    I’m sure DCC won’t want that out too far in public domain. Oops.

  44. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 16 Feb 2016
    Smell blamed on faulty sensors
    By Chris Morris
    The Dunedin City Council says faulty sensors are to blame for the foul smell coming from the Tahuna wastewater treatment plant, after the facility became overloaded with “biomass”. […] The cause of the smell had been traced to three malfunctioning sensors located inside different parts of the treatment plant. […] The failure of the sensors had allowed up to 80% more biomass than expected to build up in the plant, overwhelming the facility’s odour filters and allowing the smell to escape, he said.
    Read more

  45. Gurglars

    Odour Filters!

    Why do they not process the excrement properly, eliminate the smell, bag the solid residue as a fertiliser and supply potable water?

    All this is possible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s