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Trade waste education programme being rolled out

Fat from top of oxidation pond

Partnering with local businesses to protect Wairoa’s infrastructure and local waterways is the driver behind a trade waste education programme.

The Wairoa District Council has a trade waste bylaw, but financial constraints meant it had never been fully activated and implemented.

Now through the Three Waters government infrastructure stimulus, Council is grabbing the opportunity to actively implement the trade waste bylaw.

Council will partner with local businesses and educate businesspeople around their waste obligations to protect our soon to be upgraded wastewater infrastructure and the environment.

Trade waste is classified as any liquid, with or without suspended solids, that may be discharged into the Council’s sewerage system in the course of any business or industrial process or operation.

Trade waste may include, but is not limited to, oils and fats from cafes, industrial washing water, oils and grease from garages, a car wash, condensing or cooling waters, stormwater from contaminated sites, etc.

To assist business operators to understand what constitutes trade waste, Council is launching an educational campaign, through the media and in person, with Council’s Trade Waste Compliance Officer visiting all potential trade waste premises to assist them in developing a trade waste management plan.

A lot of foreign material ends up in the sewer network. This year Council has received 33 callouts to pump stations where the pumps have been blocked by non-organic items such as rags, elastic, wood, plastic and stones. Each of these callouts costs Council, and therefore the ratepayer, thousands of dollars a year.

Group Manager Community Assets and Services Stephen Heath said it is no longer acceptable for the community to tip their waste down the drain. It is important people understand the constitution of such waste and the impact it will have on the Council sewer network.

“There is a significant cost of unblocking drains and wastewater pump stations which can require large amounts of hardened fat, rags and clothing to be removed.

“In one instance we scraped 300kg of fat globules from off the top the town’s oxidation pond.

“Our trade waste partnership is simply about the community and businesses doing the right thing. We know at a domestic level that residents generally have a much better understanding of appropriate waste management and recycling. This is a follow on from that but initially aimed at a business operator level.”

Council has appointed a trade waste officer, who will spearhead the awareness campaign, with the position fully funded externally through the Three Waters regional investment at no cost to ratepayers and business operators.

“We call upon all our business community to partner with Council and the wider community on this journey to preserve our infrastructure and save ratepayers an unnecessary cost. There is a great opportunity here to meet our obligations with huge benefits for our environment and no burden on ratepayers.”

“It is easy to think of the main street, but this goes further than that, we don’t want nasties such as waste oil, chemicals or medical waste down our drains.”

Methods of reducing the impact include grease traps which can be cleaned out and disposed of responsibly by the business owner, or stormwater interceptors.

“This is new to Council and to our community so we want to introduce a staged approach so we can understand what is happening now and look at opportunities to move forward and make our district compliant and help improve our infrastructure and ultimately the health of our awa.”

Mr Heath said trade waste compliance will help bring Wairoa in line with National Environmental standards.

Disposing of trade waste appropriately will mean environmental benefits and compliance with less contaminants in our awa, cost benefits from not having to pay to clear blocked drains and pump stations and it protects Council’s infrastructure.

To kick start this new era of doing things responsibly the local sushi shop, Arigato Mum’s Sushi which recently reopened in its new main street venue in October, is the first business to have an approved trade waste system.

“It is great to have a compliant business to leverage from and we will be working with other food providers both takeaway and restaurants, hairdressers, service stations and a whole lot more as we work towards best practice and ultimately compliance.”

Click the button below to find out more about Trade Waste.

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Caption: The Wairoa District Council is launching a trade waste education programme to try and stop instances like this 300 kg of mystery fat globules which were scraped from the top of the town’s oxidation pond.

3 December 2020

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