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Submissions open for tougher septic tank plan

28 September 2004

Submissions open for tougher septic tank plan

For immediate release: Tuesday 28 September 2004 A major plan that sets tougher standards for septic tank systems will officially open for submissions on Tuesday 5 October.

Environment Bay of Plenty recently revised its On-Site Effluent Treatment Regional Plan to make it stricter, especially around the vulnerable Rotorua lakes. After two months of consultation on a draft, including the distribution of more than 400 copies, the revised plan is now being publicly notified. Submissions are open until Friday 3 December.

Environment Bay of Plenty’s group manager regulation and resource management, Paul Dell says the region has thousands of households with on-site treatment systems. Many are “very old and very basic”, he says. In some areas, they are causing quite serious pollution problems.

Mr Dell says the revised plan includes rules that will lift the standard for all new conventional systems, with further requirements for the Rotorua lakes catchments. It takes into account new treatment technologies and introduces greater setback distances from lakes, streams and the coast. For the first time, it addresses contamination not only by bacteria but also from nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients that affect water quality.

The plan also includes a revised list of “hot spot” communities on compulsory inspection and maintenance programmes. Several communities – Athenree, Waihi Beach, and Woodlands – have been removed from the list, mostly because of progress made with reticulation or upgrades. Rotoma, Rotokawa, Te Puna and Ongare Point are now included after monitoring and assessments suggested problems with degraded water quality.


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