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Mineral dosing for Lake Okareka

Mineral dosing for Lake Okareka

For immediate release: Tuesday 26 April 2005

A regular fix with minerals will stop Lake Okareka’s water quality from getting worse before long-term solutions kick in further down the track, says Environment Bay of Plenty.

The regional council wants to start treating the lake with Phoslock, a mineral compound that binds to phosphorus and takes it out of the water column so it no longer degrades water quality.

An Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) shows the treatment will not cause problems for the lake or people using it, says John McIntosh, manager of environmental investigations.

“Now we have that information, we want to go ahead with our resource consent application. We really need to start the treatments later in May, because that’s the right time for the best result,” Mr McIntosh says.

The Lake Okareka Catchment Management Action Plan, signed off by the community last year, includes a range of actions designed to halt Lake Okareka’s falling water quality. Other solutions include sewerage reticulation and changes in land use practices. All have the same goal - to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in, or entering, the lake.

Mr McIntosh says the proposal is to treat the lake with low doses of Phoslock once a year for three years, by which time the community sewerage system will be complete. The Phoslock will be distributed from a barge in pellet form. “It’s necessary because the lake’s quality is slowly getting worse – and we know that it’s much harder to improve lake quality once it has really degraded.”

Environment Bay of Plenty staff have already discussed the plan with the Lake Okareka community and iwi. They now plan to hold a meeting in Rotorua on Tuesday 3 May to outline the details with the wider community. The meeting starts at 5.30pm in the Okareka hall. For further information please contact John McIntosh on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267).


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