Wairoa District Council is looking to the future to manage Wairoa's wastewater
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A range of technical reports have been completed summarising background information (Phase A). These relate to various areas of the wastewater system, the environment and the management of such a system. These reports assist with developing options along with consultation as shown in Phase B. Phase C relates to the design of the new wastewater system and its consenting.
The following articles have been published in the Wairoa Star and Gisborne Herald over the course of this year. These articles relate to the wastewater system.
In late July/August 2017, public consultation took place to inform the community of the wastewater project. In November 2017 a “package” option was put forward to the community. This was designed with input from our community Stakeholder group. This “package” takes into consideration the future discharge method of wastewater and includes a holistic approach to improve the Wairoa River health. Further community consultation will occur in 2018 to update the community of the progress of the “package” option and the consenting process.
Looking at alternative discharge methods, using land to irrigate wastewater is a feasible option for the future, although this is expensive. Land surrounding Wairoa however, has its limitations due to its hilly nature. To apply wastewater to this type of land would require a large area to accommodate not only the land to irrigate, but additional storage of wastewater during the wetter months of the year when irrigation is not suitable.
Planning a future treatment and discharge system for wastewater requires investigations into what policies could affect a new system such as the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. Other planning investigations have included identifying potential hazards such as tsunami and earthquakes that could affect this system. Additionally, wastewater and Wairoa River Catchment options were identified for consideration.
The current wastewater reticulation system has issues with stormwater and groundwater entering when this shouldn’t be the case. This impacts on flows entering the treatment plant. Overflows occur sometimes because of this. Modelling of this system has been conducted to identify solutions for a better reticulation system.
A tangata whenua worldview of wastewater management in Wairoa has been explored. Culturally important sites and practices have been identified within the Wairoa Community that may be affected by treatment or discharge options of wastewater.
Treatment of wastewater currently occurs in the treatment ponds where algae and bacteria are used. Investigations of the ponds and the flows entering the ponds were assessed. This will assist with the future design of the treatment and discharge method.
Water is an important aspect in the discharge of wastewater. Discharging municipal and industrial wastewater to the Wairoa River plus overland runoff of nutrients and sediment may impact on the Wairoa River and the health of those who use it. Regular monitoring is conducted on the river to assess water quality and aquatic habitats to show trends over time.
The Wairoa Wastewater Stakeholder Group was formed in April 2017 to assist council with finding the best option for the future of Wairoa’s wastewater system. The group has representation from Council, tangata whenua, as well as individuals from different sections of the community such as the business sector, AFFCO, older citizens and youth. The objectives of the Group are to help Council’s project team understand the best fit of solutions for the community. They have been a sounding board of ideas and provided guidance on possible solutions. Note: Meeting 4 was a field trip to Waipukurau and Hastings to view their wastewater treatment systems on 26 June 2017.
For more information please contact the Wairoa District Council.
+64 6 838 7309
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