3 Nov 2021

A preliminary damage assessment at the Christchurch Wastewater Treatment Plant has begun following this week’s fire.

“A structural engineer is currently on site undertaking a preliminary external investigation of the two trickling filters, where the fire was concentrated,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Three Waters and Waste Helen Beaumont.

“It may be some days before we can do a full assessment of the damage as the trickling filters are still smouldering and will need to have water applied to them for several days yet.

“However, the early indications from the engineer is that there is no immediate danger of the structures collapsing.

“We appreciate that the public want to know more about the extent of the damage to the plant and we will release information as soon as we have it.

“The wastewater plant is still running and we are progressing well with the optimisation of the treatment processes. We are liaising with Environment Canterbury on how we can adapt the plant while the trickling filters are out of action,’’ Ms Beaumont says.

“At this stage the quality of the discharge from the wastewater treatment plant is still typical of normal operations but there is a lag of about 20 days between wastewater entering the plant and the discharge from the ocean outfall. We will be closely monitoring this over the coming weeks.’’

The investigation into the cause of Monday’s fire has begun. The investigation involves a site inspection, interviews with treatment plant staff and contractors, as well as a review of the relevant procedures and permits to work documentation.