Porirua's Titahi Bay residents fume over delays learning of sewage leaks

The coastal community of Titahi Bay says residents aren't being told about sewage leaks into the popular beach until days after it's happened.

Even the local mayor admits there's been a communication failure. And some locals fear for their health.

Beachgoers were making the most of clean and blue water on Sunday. But it's not always like this.

The Residents Association says there have been at least three sewage leaks into the beach in January alone.

"It's heartbreaking that we have to be at the end of all of this with a system that's just not coping," says Graeme Ebbett.

Faeces and toilet paper bubble up through manholes when there's heavy rain while rain can also cause partially treated sewage to discharge from Porirua's Treatment Plant into the ocean.

Residents claim they aren't being told about sewage leaks until it's too late.

"Couple of weeks ago it was two days later and yet we had full beaches on both days," Ebbett says.

Late notifications have locals Newshub spoke to frustrated and fearing for their health.

"For me and a number of other parents it's alarming to think our children are in water that is contaminated. There's just no excuse really," one person tells Newshub.

Newshub's seen an email Porirua Mayor Anita Baker sent to Wellington Water back in November. In it, she asked for an alert system to be set up as soon as Wellington Water knew about sewage leak in Titahi Bay.

Months on, the mayor says the lack of communication is a failure that's affected her too.

"I am really annoyed and livid at it because we weren't notified until day three of a spill," Baker says.

In a statement, Wellington Water says it's in regular communication with the Council and the community and has committed more resources to faster communication all around.

For some, it hasn't been fast enough.