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Report insecure manhole covers
Monday 12 December 2011, 4:45PM
By Far North District Council


We think we have got it right but if there are storm water or wastewater manholes near your home that you believe should be better secured, please let us know.

That's the message the Far North District Council is sending out in the wake of recommendations made by the Coroner's Court after a Henderson infant fell down an open storm water manhole and drowned in October 2009.

The Court recommended to Local Government New Zealand that national guidelines and an integrated risk management policy be put in place to ensure the security of wastewater and storm water systems.

In the interests of public safety, the Court recommended the fitting of safety grills or protective devices and telemetry sensors to both existing and new storm water networks.

It also suggested that councils look at risk management policies which provided for improved monitoring procedures and better notification processes to ensure public complaints were followed up with greater urgency.

Infrastructure and Asset General Manager David Penny says there are more than 7000 manholes in the Far North storm water and sewer network.

The council is reasonably satisfied that the system is adequately secured to prevent a similar accident in the Far North.

But there is always the risk that a cover will accidentally be left insecure or come loose in a storm.

He urges people to report any missing or insecure covers immediately.

“There may also be cases in which people may feel that security measures taken are inadequate and we would like to hear about these as well."

Mr Penny says new protocols have been put in place with the Council's maintenance contractors to ensure speedy responses to keep the network safe.

The council has also looked at the telemetry monitoring system suggested, but decided it could not be justified in less densely-populated areas such as the Far North. INDEX