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Dunedin City Seeks to Increase Contaminants to Sea

Dunedin City Council Seeks to Increase Contaminants to Sea

The DCC's is seeking an increase in contaminant loading to sea through the Tahuna wastewater treatment plant.

The consent application seeks to increase biological oxygen demand (a measure of organic matter), chromium III, nickel, sulphide and ammonia to levels 3.9, 22.1, 11.1, 4.1, and 2.2 times greater than the current consent values respectively. Many of these contaminants are key components of industrial discharges (especially tannery and meatworks effluent).

The Protect Our Ocean's (POO) group has been aware of the increases in key contaminants. 'We became suspicious of the DCC's intentions when we saw they were seeking to increase consent conditions for key industrial contaminants' Andrew Brown (Poo member) said. As a result the group asked to meet with Council staff earlier this year. 'Members of our group were told straight out that the DCC did not intend to divert industrial waste to Tahuna, yet last weeks report says they knew about this pipeline since last October' Mr Brown said.

The Tahuna plant would discharge around 2% of its total load from the diverted effluent. Mr Brown said' This may not seem like much but the Tahuna waste is currently mainly water and for 2% of its volume in the future to be industrial waste is cause for concern'.

The Otago Regional Council had not been made aware of the pipeline as part of the Tahuna consent application. As a result the ORC has asked the DCC to provide more information under section 92 of the Resource Management Act. Until appropriate information on the volume of waste, and the nature of the discharge is provided, the application has been placed on hold. The ORC's letter notes that 'the stream of waste already appears to be causing problems at the Green Island Plant, so we view with some concern that this information was not provided in the original documentation that formed the
basis for notification of the applicants'.

Protect Our Oceans is concerned that ratepayers have not been given a choice over the pipeline. They are concerned that the public were not made aware of the pipeline during the DCC's Tahuna consent public consultation process. '$600,000 is a lot of money and ratepayers have a right to decide if they want to foot the bill for industries not cleaning up their own act' said Mr Brown.

The group was also concerned by the Mayors comments that they were mischievous and misleading. 'We have nothing to gain from making the public aware of the DCC's actions. We are a group of ratepayers, beach users and beach suburb residents, we are not an extreme green group and we are not
trying to be mischievous, all we want is for clean beaches and for ratepayers to be informed rather than called names by our Council and our Mayor'.

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