Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Waste water consent conditions in the hands of commissioners

26 March 2014

Waste water consent conditions in the hands of Independent Commissioners

Last year a Consent Review of Palmerston North City Council’s 25 year resource consent to discharge treated waste water into the Manawatū River was announced.

The review came about following several scientific studies that were commissioned to find out what was behind the growth of periphyton (algae), downstream of the Totara Road Waste Water Treatment Plant, in the Manawatū River during periods of low flow.

The Review Hearing will be heard by independent commissioners later this year and will determine what, if any, resource consent conditions may need to be changed.

Palmerston North City Council chief executive Paddy Clifford says that throughout the process, Council has been guided by peer reviewed scientific research.

“It has been a long journey,” says Mr Clifford, “from when the issue was first raised to working proactively with Horizons Regional Council to coming up with a scientifically backed action plan.”

Paddy Clifford says both parties agree the treated discharge is having more of an effect than was anticpated when Horizons initially gave Council consent. “It’s the extent of the effect and the remedies proposed where we differ.”

“We are looking forward to finally having the matter resolved through the process of a pre-hearing meeting and then the formal hearing by independent Commissioners.”

Water and waste services manager Rob Green says Council’s position was stated in its response to the Consent Review last year. The Council, as a signatory of the Manawatū River Accord, offered to install a tertiary Disk Filtration System to reduce total phosphorus in the discharge with the intention of limiting periphyton growth to approximately the rates predicted when the 25 year consent was originally granted.

Council is currently carrying out research to find out what effect the installation of the filter will have on other algae present in the river. The project is included in the 2014/15 Annual Plan which is currently out for public consultation and if approved construction will begin in the next financial year.

Rob Green says having read Horizon’s response he and his team acknowledge the differences of opinion held by both Councils and welcomes the opportunity for independent commissioners to consider the evidence.

The hearing will be held mid this year.

Background
In 2003 Council was granted a 25 year consent for the wastewater discharge and embarked on a$16million upgrade of the treatment plant. A clarifier was built and alum dosing commenced which significantly improved the quality of the discharge into the river by reducing the amount of dissolved reactive phosphorus or DRP in the discharge. An ultra violet light treatment process was introduced which allowed Council to meet bacteriogical standards.

The discharge consent expires in 2028. Typically with large consents of this nature planning for renewal commences 5 to 7 years before expiry.

Council is a member of the Manawatū River Leaders Accord and has been working to reduce the number of treated wastewater discharges throughout its catchment to enhance the water quality of the river. The discharges are being redirected to the Totara Road plant which provides higher quality treatment than offered at the smaller plants. The overall project has an $8million budget and once completed the city will have only one point of discharge into the river. Linton and Aokautere have been redirected, Ashhurst will be redirected next month (April, 2014), construction of the Longburn connection is about to start and next year construction of the Bunnythorpe connection will begin.

In 2011 HRC assessed the discharge as not complying and causing a significant adverse effect on aquatic life due to its impact on periphyton growth and the macro-inverterbrate community during low flow conditions. This led to a joint PNCC-HRC Monitoring Programme by consulting ecologist Keith Hamill.

The Consent conditions recognise there would be more periphyton growth downstream of the plant however Mr Hamill’s report found it was growing at a rate faster than expected causing mayflys to move downstream. The report also found more DRP in the river than could be explained by the discharge alone.

As a result of the report Horizons Regional Council is carrying out a formal review of the Consent conditions and Palmerston North City Council adopted a $1.7M Wastewater Action Plan. The plan included a review of treatment processes and mitigation options, an increase in alum dosing at higher flows, investigation into the causes of the higher periphyton growth downstream of the plant, de-sludging of the aerated ponds (due to occur later this year) and a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging residents to use non phosphorus based detergents.

Keith Hamill’s studies continued throughout last summer during the worst drought in 70 years, thereby providing a unique opportunity to study the effects at extended periods of low flow. His full report is available at pncc.govt.nz keyword wastewater.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pre-Caucus Audio:
David Cunliffe And
The Future Of The
Labour Party

David Cunliffe met with the press today after Saturday’s disappointing election result for The Labour Party.

“We are all deeply concerned by the result of our party vote. I want to be clear that I, as leader, am responsible for that result” Cunliffe said. Although he called the results “deeply disappointing” Cunliffe said “the voters are always right”.

He felt that Labour needed to make improvements and take action: “We don’t need months to get feedback from members of the public, we've had a lot over the past 48 hours”. More>>

Update: After a seven hour caucus meeting David Cunliffe has announced Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni as new party whips and said the Labour council will hold an independent review into the election result. He did not comment on any leadership vote.

 

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Very Bad Year

While Labour leader David Cunliffe still appears to be in denial about the extent of Saturday night’s debacle, there was hardly a single redeeming feature about the election results for the centre-left... More>>

ALSO:

General Election NZ: National Win

Election Night: With almost all votes counted National and John Key have won a third term and are close to being able to govern alone if they so choose. Key has indicated he will still reach out to form a Government with ACT, United Future and Maori Party. More>>

ALSO:

Perfectly-Timed Anniversaries: Suffrage Day Is Last Chance To Enrol

“The last chance to enrol is Friday 19 September. You can’t enrol on election day.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On First Time Voting (Greens)

For the last two days, I’ve turned my column over to a couple of guest columnists who are first time voters… Today’s guest columnist is Ana Avia-O’Connor, who will be casting her first time vote on Saturday for the Greens. More>>

ALSO:

Meddling: Aussie Liberals Embroiled In Key Campaign

John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says. More>>

ALSO:

SURVEILLANCE:

Election Ad Soundtrack: Rapper Eminem Sues National Party Over Copyright Breach

US rapper Eminem is suing the New Zealand National Party for alleged copyright infringement over unauthorised use of the rapper’s ‘Lose Yourself’ song in an election campaign advertisement. More>>

ALSO:

Big March: Call For An End To Domestic Violence

Hundreds of protesters marched down Lambton Quay to Parliament Monday calling for an end to domestic violence. Wearing white facemasks, waving banners and calling for “safety” for the women and children of New Zealand.. More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Election Chartering: Four New Partnership Schools To Open

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced the Government has signed contracts to open four new Partnership Schools in 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf 50 Out Now - The Election Issue: Loss Leaders

Gordon Campbell: A third term requires a mature decision, with eyes wide open. It calls for a conscious vote of confidence… Without trying hard here are about 19 reasons, in no particular order, for not ticking ‘party vote’ National. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news