Wakari resident browned off by blocked drain

Wakari resident Jeremy Quinn sits on his and his neighbour’s shared staircase that waste from the...
Wakari resident Jeremy Quinn sits on his and his neighbour’s shared staircase that waste from the overflowing drains (below) was streaming down. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Dunedin residents dealing with wet wipes clogging the city’s sewerage systems say the unwanted fragrance of faeces is an embarrassment.

Wakari resident Jeremy Quinn said there was a "light pooey smell" that began floating around his property after a drain clogged by wet wipes began leaking a light brown liquid down his and his neighbour’s shared steps in Prospect Bank.

"It wasn’t really strong ... but I wouldn’t want to stand in it," he said.

The drain blockage, which happened about two weeks ago, was the second this year, Mr Quinn said.

"Around mid-February, all this papery stuff started coming out the sides of the exit thing on my lawn ... It was basically like paper towels or wet wipes or something like that."

The second leak was annoying because he thought the issue had been resolved, he said.

Mr Quinn, who works for Allied Press, said he found it embarrassing to welcome guests to his home, which had human excrement at the entrance.

A Dunedin City Council spokesman said the city’s drainage networks had been plagued by wet wipes entering the system when people flushed them down their toilets.

"Wet wipes have been an issue for the Three Waters network for some time, but became particularly problematic during Covid-19 lockdowns due to the number of people staying home.

"Our contractor continues to respond to a significant number of the blockages caused by wet wipes, which we estimate account for up to half of all blockages reported."

In this year alone, there had been 96 blockages reported involving a mixture of public and private pipes.

The estimated cost to fix them was about $20,000 so far this year.

The council had urged the public to stop flushing wet wipes down toilets through a social media post.