A power outage interrupted a routine wastewater flushing operation on Thursday [June 23], disabling the automatic gate
function, resulting in a wastewater overflow on State 51, near Whakatū.
As soon as the waste team was alerted to the overflow, just after midday on Thursday, the gate was opened manually. The
overflow ceased at 12.45pm.
It is estimated that about 200 cubic metres of wastewater spilled onto the road and into the adjacent rural drain.
The road was immediately closed and traffic diverted through Whakatū, and the clean-up of the road started. Vacuum
trucks were used to remove the debris, and then the road was washed and disinfected so it could be reopened at 5pm.
Hastings District Council chief executive Nigel Bickle acknowledged that this should not have happened and apologises to
“This is a serious matter. Our immediate focus has been on responding to the incident. Next week, I will be
commissioning an independent review into the incident to understand how it happened and I will be expecting
recommendations to ensure events such as this cannot happen again. The report and its findings will be made public.”
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, as the regulator, will carry out its own investigation, and Hastings District Council
expects that will result in enforcement action.
Hastings District Council notified Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, and as a precaution Council is asking the public
to avoid Muddy Creek and the Clive River mouth, including for food collection until further notice.