Updates on the Wairoa District Council’s wastewater discharge consent process will be presented to the community at two upcoming public meetings.
People are encouraged to attend a Hui-a-Hapu on Sunday morning at the Whaakirangi Marae and a public meeting on Monday evening at the War Memorial Hall.
The aim of the meetings is to provide an overview of the details of the consents, consenting process and to explain how the up-coming public notification will provide an opportunity for people to have a say on the consent applications.
In 2017 Council began consulting with the community and obtaining feedback regarding the future management of the town’s wastewater.
This culminated in a proposal to reduce stormwater and groundwater entering the town’s sewers, install additional treatment, increase storage volumes, and transition towards the aspirational goal of ultimately discharging all wastewater to land and ceasing discharges to the river. It also included Council support for environmental initiatives that would benefit the entire Wairoa River catchment. This was seen as an aspirational, practical, manageable, and affordable plan which could be developed as and when funding becomes available.
Last November, Council lodged applications for consents with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) for continuing wastewater discharges to the Wairoa River with significant improvements and specific milestones to transition as much as possible to land discharges over the next 30-years or so.
These consents are also intended to resolve the compliance issues that have been highlighted by HBRC and the community. The land discharges will need landowner agreements and separate consents before they can occur.
HBRC has been considering the application, clarifying some aspects with Council, and will soon be publicly notifying the application for public submissions.
The linkages with resolving the compliance concerns and potential land discharge consents have also been discussed by the Councils.
Recent disconnections of residential stormwater pipes, renewals of sewer pipes, pump upgrades, restrictions on discharge flow rates from the treatment plant, and clearing a blockage of the river outfall have already achieved compliance most of the time.
A key component of the consent application is that the proposed conditions of consent lock-in and commit Council to on-going investigations and reviews with specific goals for progressively reducing and ultimately avoiding river discharges.
This will initially restrict discharges during low and medium river flow conditions.
The proposed ramping up of restrictions on the river discharge regime over time reflect the community’s desire to cease discharges during low river flows when people may be in the river swimming or gathering food.
Council is committed to investing smartly in improving the river’s water quality and Wairoa’s infrastructure.
Council is also keen to progress these consent applications so that they can modify the outfall and its overflow structure as quickly as possible. This will resolve the overflow issues and achieve full compliance with HBRC’s requirements.
Sunday’s Hui-a-Hapu at Whaakirangi Marae will begin at 10am and Monday’s public meeting at the War Memorial Hall will start at 5.30pm. Each meeting is expected to run for about two hours.
Karen Akuhata, Council Asset Engineer
+64 6 838 7309
25 July 2019
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