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Threat of sewage discharge into Lake Horowhenua

10 August 2008

Threat of sewage discharge into Lake Horowhenua

Horowhenua District Council needs to rethink its priorities, with a new threat to discharge sewage into Lake Horowhenua, the Green Party says.

"Unfortunately this is typical of waste systems stress around the country and a lack of foresight by small councils. It comes just two years after the council spent $10.4 million on a huge council building.

"Horowhenua waste management policies for both solid and liquid waste are now a parliamentary issue. A landfill which pollutes groundwater near Hokio Stream became the subject of a Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report last week.

"HDC has a history of resource consent breaches including a court appearance in recent weeks for emptying Shannon's sewage ponds into the Mangaore Stream. Now with rain in recent weeks at Levin it is facing the possibility of having to discharge sewage into Lake Horowhenua if there is another heavy downfall.

"This would be the first time for such a discharge in a decade, suggesting the council is failing to learn," Dr Norman says.

"It seems posh housing for councillors and staff has taken precedence over the health of the community and the environment. Horizons Regional Council has a 'Safe Lake Horowhenua' website page which warns that some blue-green algae carry toxic substances which 'can cause skin rashes, nausea, tummy upsets, and tingling and numbness around the mouth or tips of fingers. If toxin levels are really high, drinking the water could result in severe liver damage'.

"It is disgraceful in the 21st century, in so called clean and green New Zealand, that one of our governing bodies turns a once beautiful lake into a huge sewage pond. The district council should be condemned for refusing to listen to the voices over decades of the Muaupoko, Ngati Pareraukawa and Ngati Raukawa iwi who value the lake and its outfall Hokio Stream as important eel fisheries and the mouth of the stream for shellfish."

"Surely $10 million would have gone a long way to fixing the council's sewage and landfill problems," Dr Norman said. "It's too late to get the money back on the council building but it's not too late for councillors to change priorities for future spending."


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