Unseasonably high rainfall combined with Wairoa District Council staff adapting to the new wastewater consent conditions saw an extended treated discharge from the wastewater ponds in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Council’s new Hawke’s Bay Regional Council issued town wastewater resource consent came into effect on November 1, with the summer restrictions starting on December 1. Wairoa District Council chief executive officer Kitea Tipuna said the new consent includes a shorter discharge period, particularly over the summer months.
“Historically we could discharge treated wastewater on an outgoing tide between 6pm and 6am. That window has now been restricted to 7pm to 4am on an outgoing tide under the new summer hours. Added to that we need the river conditions to meet the requirements to allow the discharge to occur, but in this case the river flow was not strong enough during the allowed timeframe.
“Steady rain in town meant the ponds were filling up quickly, and to avoid the ponds overflowing and causing additional infrastructure issues we extended our discharge past the 4am cut off.
“While the treated discharge does not pose a public health risk, it is important our community is advised about what is happening in the wastewater space.
“Rainfall over the past few days has been concentrated in town with around 80mm falling with a high-volume intense rain on Sunday. More rain is predicted, and we may need to continue to discharge treated wastewater from the ponds outside of the consented timeframe.”
Mr Tipuna said the new conditions will take a bit of working through and because every rainfall event is different, Council will continue to work to respond with the most suitable action, as it has done in this situation.
“Our new consent incorporates milestones for land irrigation and storage and as we achieve these milestones, in line with the consent requirements and over the next three to five years, it will mitigate the need to discharge treated water.
“A reminder to Wairoa residents, please don’t rush to flush. Keeping your household wastewater to a minimum by limiting showers, baths and toilet flushing means less wastewater for Council to process.”
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14 December 2021
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