Context, Context, Context

While the spill at Taupo is unfortunate, there are such things as ‘accidents’. For whatever reason, road vibrations, minor earthquakes etc, a wastewater main leaked into pumice soil and eroded it.

With no soil (pumice) left to support the wastewater main, it broke and spilled 800,000 litres of raw sewage into the lake, approximately 600 m from the lake outlet, aka Waikato River. It is pumice that is the big fan in the aerial pictures.

On the web a figure for the flow at Huka Falls, not that far downstream, was given as 300,000 l/sec.

The spill is therefore equivalent to about 3 seconds’ worth of flow over the falls. (About the length of time it would take to read that sentence out loud.)

But a big number like 800,000 sounds so much more terrible.

Tuwaretoa iwi leaders have been left “shocked and disturbed” by the large sewerage spill into Lake Taupo.

Despite the shock as 800,000 litres of sewage spilt into the lake Ngati Tuwharetoa chief executive Topia Rameka said they have remained focused on acting to protect the community and leave questions for later.

“In the fullness of time the cause will become clear,” he said.

So a rahui has been put in place.

A rahui has been imposed on parts of the lake meaning access to the water is restricted and seafood cannot be harvested from affected areas until the rahui is lifted.


Seafood, in a lake?

Has this rahui been able to stop tourists using the Taupo Floatplane service that departs from the pontoon inside the rahui area?

The sewage spilled in over a period of 90 minutes or 5400 seconds. 3 seconds’ worth of flow was distributed over 5400 seconds, a dilution factor of 0.055%.

Obviously such accidents are regrettable but is providing some context and perspective that hard?