Midge numbers down by 30 per cent but residents disagree

Shortland St resident Janet Profit says she disagrees midge numbers are decreasing.

“Nothing is working and we have had enough after 11 years.”

This was the response from Shortland St resident Janet Profit to a city council study, which found midge numbers around the Bromley wastewater treatment plant’s oxidation ponds have decreased by 30 per cent.

The study credited the drop to 30 midge traps which the city council placed around the six ponds early last year as part of a $300,000 project to reduce the midge problem.

However, Mrs Profit said the midges are still everywhere on her property next to the ponds.

“I’ve got a white dog and I send her outside for a piddle and she comes back in covered in midges . . . it’s simple things like wanting to sweep the backyard or getting the windows cleaned outside, I can’t even do that.”

Mrs Profit has been back and forth with the city council since the problem started more than a decade ago.

Mrs Profit said the traps had been relatively successful over Christmas, but the midges had returned to her property in huge numbers.

“It’s absolutely atrocious

. . . it may have worked over Christmas, but it is definitely not working now.”

City council general manager of city services David Adamson said the 30 per cent reduction in midge numbers has occurred around the ponds themselves, but “no monitoring of the midge numbers is undertaken in the surrounding areas or properties.”

Mrs Profit said the city council’s current strategy is costing too much considering the results.

“They breed in the ponds but they don’t stay there . . . they may have 30 per cent less in the ponds, but we haven’t got 30 per cent less in the houses.”

She said placing salt around the edge of the ponds or reinserting some sewage back into them would be better and more cost-effective options. However, Mr Adamson said the salt option had been proven to be “uneconomic” and adding sewage had the potential to cause an odour and “a significant impact on the water quality of the final effluent being discharged out into Pegasus Bay.”

He said the current range of the trapping and monitoring techniques being used would “have a cumulative influence as they take effect in coming years.”

The reduction in the midge population achieved by the techniques means they are currently the best options, he said.

But Mrs Profit said she was willing to “make midge sandwiches and take them to the council” to give it a taste of just how bad the problem was on her property.

She doesn’t hold out hope that it will get better, in spite of years of trying.

“I’m not just fighting a losing battle, it’s been a losing battle of 11 years. It’s longer than a war.”