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Extent of wastewater system damage

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The earthquakes have damaged around 528 kilometres of the sewer system, significantly more than the fresh water system. Christchurch has about 1700 kilometres of pipe in its sewer system, so this is about 31% of that total. A portion of this is within the red zoned areas, which we will not rebuild permanently, unless a pipe passing through a red zone serves a green zoned area.

The quakes badly damaged the sewer pumping stations within the city. We need to rebuild or replace 100 sewer pumping stations.

For health reasons, there have been restrictions on recreational use of the waterways around Christchurch because of the effects of the damage. These change regularly with circumstances and activities, so it's important to check for the latest advice and to follow it. The main causes of ocean and waterway contamination are:

  • leakage of wastewater
  • when we temporarily pump wastewater into waterways as an emergency diversion after severe aftershocks.