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Ticking waste bombs everywhere

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OPINION: Taupō residents seemed pretty happy to go with the flow this week as 800,000 litres of wastewater spewed into Lake Taupō and downstream into the Waikato River.

While District Council staff and consultants pondered how to stop the flow, chief executive Gareth Green and Mayor David Trewavas fronted media.

They said a crucial pipe, carrying 70 per cent of the CBD's wastewater, failed due to moving ground.

The great unwashed, who couldn't have showers, seemed to just suck it up and heed the advice "if it's yellow, let it mellow".

* Wastewater spill: third of an Olympic swimming pool in Lake Taupō
* Taupō wastewater spill : Residents urged to save water for three to five days
* Taupō mayor calls wastewater spillage a 'disaster'

It's part of life. The proverbial hits from time to time, but it did make me wonder how one council in the centre of the North Island could be scrambling to clean up a disastrous mess, while another in the centre of the South Island is applying for a resource consent to make one?

It's a stark contrast when you think about what happened in Taupō this week and consider Queenstown Lakes District Council applied, last month, for resource consent to discharge wastewater into some of New Zealand's most pristine lakes.

They say they need the discharges because their systems are regularly becoming blocked with debris and foreign objects like tree branches and fat, that cause unavoidable overflows.

Truth is, these types of overflows or discharges, although perhaps not on the scale of Taupō, happen regularly throughout New Zealand. In........

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