A bit of thanks from the public goes a long way to brighten the day for Citycare Water teams in South Auckland protecting the community by cleaning up wastewater spillages.
Mikey Thompson is a drainage labourer specialising in wastewater network maintenance.
“I’ve been with Citycare Water for 17 years and it’s been an educational journey,” he said.
“Right now we’ve got teams on call-out and working 24/7 from Penrose to Pukekohe – it’s really about our communities and it’s heart-warming to get recognition for our hard work from members of the public, especially in times like that,” Mikey said.
“It’s all about keeping our community safe – we’re the essential guys, that’s our job! We maintain the wastewater network and respond to any drainage issues. We repair main pipes, fix leaks and bursts, deal with overflows and keep manholes functional,” he said.
“Our job is to get it done so that people don’t have to deal with the muck!” he said.
He works with two younger guys and they’re a close team.
“We’ve been working together for over a year now. We get along really well – we have a few laughs and we keep each other safe, that’s the most important thing,” he said.
Recently they responded to an incident at Edgewater Drive after a rising main from the local wastewater pump station broke and was leaking underneath the driveway of a private property – seeping through the ground.
The residents alerted Citycare Water that some wastewater was coming out at their property.
Mikey’s team responded immediately and was on the job fixing the issue from 7am to 2pm.
“In a case like that, we use hydro excavation – it’s an innovative method that’s been around for a few years but we’re using it more and more often nowadays,” Mikey said.
“It helps us with locating the leak by blowing water into the soil and we are sucking it out at the same time. Once we locate the leak, we fix or replace the pipe and cover it back up.
“We always try to plan and oversee everything, from start to finish, so that the job goes smoothly.
“Some of the tasks require quite a bit of skill and can be very specialised; but that’s when our team is working really well – we balance each other out and work as one unit where everyone brings their own specific skills,” Mikey said.
Team acknowledgement from the public came at a recent job at Clendon Park cleaning up roots that had overtaken a manhole.
“It was a big job – we needed three men to do it! All of us were in harnesses, with the face shield, getting down to do the excavation and cleaning it all up,” Mikey said.
“Some local residents came out to cheer us up – it was quite nice. Thank you, your thanks definitely makes our job a lot better!”
Wonder how water gets to small or rural communities that are further away from our urban clusters?
Figuring this out, and creating solutions that are accessible and sustainable, that’s the job of Citycare Water’s Small Waters team.
Staying calm when there’s a four-metre high geyser of water shooting into the sky is all part of a day’s work for Citycare Water crews working on reactive maintenance. There’s also a bit of detective work required when Citycare Water crews arrive at the site of a leak.