‘Turds’ flow through NZ bistro-days after $150,000 fit-out

Hamish McNeilly of Stuff reports a new bistro in Otago that opened less than two weeks ago has been forced to close because of “turds, toilet paper, and p….”.

The word is poop.

Tap & Dough owner Norma Emerson is unsure when, or even if, the fledgling Middlemarch business will open its doors again.

Business had been “going well” until Tuesday night, Emerson said.

Otago bistro Tap & Dough opened on November 10, but was forced to close after floodwater and sewage flowed through the building.

“We expected to see, at the most, a little water in. What we did not expected was the sewage.”

Just metres from the business at the corner of Mold St and Snow Ave, raw sewage overflowed in the rising waters.

Floodwater and raw sewage flowed through The Tap & Dough.

Emerson and her brewer husband, Richard, spent about $150,000 fitting out the leased property, which opened on November 10.

But on Wednesday, decontaminating contractors were removing carpets, wall linings and wood panelling.

“This is a major job. We had turds in here, and all over the carpet.”

When she realised raw sewage was “lapping” at the doors on Tuesday, she called for help.

“I did what any reasonable citizen would do, and rung emergency services”.

Emerson said she was upset by a comment from local Strath Taieri board chairman Barry Williams as volunteers from the fire brigade helped pump water from the bistro.

“He went to the fire brigade and said ‘why are the Emerson’s getting preferential treatment?”‘

“Do I not have a right to protect my property, I’m furious about that.

“It is an emergency when s…., turds, toilet paper, and p…. flow through your door at an eating establishment, at which you have just spent $150,000 on refurbishing.”

The word is shit.

Williams told Stuff he did not recall the incident unfolding that way.

“That’s bloody strange,” he said.

He maintained he asked the volunteer firefighters to pump the excess water into an open ditch, rather than the side of the street.

Williams said he hoped to clear the air with Emerson, “or she could call me”.

It was one of several businesses impacted by sewage in the town, a popular start/finishing point for the Otago Central Rail Trail – about 80km from Dunedin.

On Tuesday a Dunedin City Council spokeswoman said three streets in Middlemarch were closed due to surging from the wastewater network, with a pump used to provide extra capacity.

Some New Zealand cafes have no handwashing facilities

Surveying toilets is valid social and academic exercise. People can say, dude, wash your hands, in as many clever, hilarious and gross ways, but proper handwashing requires proper access to proper tools.

Five, fourth-year University of Otago pharmacy students in Dunedin, New Zealand, visited 92 publicly available toilets, 43 of them in cafes, in their research into the adequacy of handwashing facilities in the community setting.

More than 90 per cent of the cafes had available taps, soap and means of drying hands, but while the 25 public toilets surveyed all had taps, only 17 had soap and drying facilities.

The 24 toilets in other locations, such as shopping areas, met all these requirements.

The water provided in the public toilets was cold in most instances, although 4 per cent of these surveyed had no water.

Microbiologically, water temperature doesn’t matter, but the students pointed out that the colder the water the more likely it was to reduce the frequency and time spent on washing hands.

Public toilets scored the worst on the provision of hand-drying mechanisms, with almost a third having nothing, compared with the overall result of 12 per cent in this category.

Council environmental health team leader Ros MacGill confirmed that the council inspectors did not normally check customer toilets as their brief was to look at the hygiene practices of food-handlers.