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Councils to work together on river pollution

Christchurch City Council media release: Date: September 11 2008

Councils to work together to prevent river pollution

An agreement to work together to improve the quality of surface water being discharged into Christchurch rivers will be signed by the City Council and Environment Canterbury tomorrow (Friday 12 September)

Christchurch City Council (CCC) Healthy Environment Programme Manager Jenny Ridgen says, until now, resource consent conditions relating to the quality and quantity of surface water being discharged from new developments have been determined on a site-by-site basis.

"One of the risks of considering resource consent applications on a site-by-site basis, instead of holistically, is the cumulative effects of a lot of small developments. Each one may have only a minor impact, but together the effects could be significant," Ms Ridgen says.

The Surface Water Protocol Implementation Agreement between the two councils provides a new way of managing stormwater on a catchment-wide basis, including: * Protecting waterways as development occurs, * Enabling early intervention if water quality deteriorates, and * Setting out how the two Councils will work together to deal with pollution.

Catchment boundaries are determined by areas of urban growth and Christchurch's main rivers, the Avon, Heathcote and Styx. Banks Peninsula catchments will also be covered by the agreement.

Surface water can be polluted by many things, such as zinc from the roofs of houses, copper from brake linings in cars, fertilisers, pesticides and sediment runoff from building work disturbing the soil.

These contaminants and sediment can effect the health and food chains of various species that rely on high quality water. The protocol aims to prevent deterioration of water quality, restore the life of the streams as much as possible and manage the risk of flooding.

Until now, developers have applied for resource consent from Environment Canterbury (ECan) to discharge stormwater. Under the new catchment-wide consents, they will seek authorisation from the CCC to discharge stormwater, as per the CCC's consent from ECan, although high risk discharges will still require consent from ECan.

The CCC will apply for its first catchment-wide consent from ECan soon.

Planning will be based on a joint CCC and ECan document entitled "Planning and Consents Protocol for Surface Water Management," which was adopted by the councils in March 2006.

Members of the media are welcome to attend the signing of the agreement, by CCC Chief Executive Tony Marryatt and ECan Chief Executive Dr Bryan Jenkins, on Friday 12 September at 4pm at Our City O-Tautahi.


ENDS

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