Raw sewage leaking into Gisborne's waters

By Heeni Brown

The Gisborne District Council has been leaking raw sewage into the river and ocean, and the problem is, it was being done without Mayor Meng Foon's knowledge, so the question begs asking, just who is responsible for informing the community?

When it rains, the sewerage gates are opened, and raw sewerage is released into the Turanganui river and the sea.

Last month, marine biologist Ian Ruru was accidentally sent an email from the local council, stating raw sewerage had been released into the ocean. His requests to put out a notice to the public were silenced.

Another time when the sewer gates were opened, shellfish had washed up and families unknowingly began to gather the contaminated cockles.

Gisborne's wastewater treatment plant admits it has been releasing raw sewerage three times a year for the past three years without advising the public. Now, even the mayor admits he had no knowledge of that happening. 

Gisborne residents are now more aware of their sewerage problem, and while Meng Foon says it's a better system than they've ever had, local Māori say they'll continue to keep a closer eye on the water.