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Wellington Stormwater Consent Issued

Press Release Tuesday 1 March 2011


The Greater Wellington Regional Council’s has released its decision on the Wellington City Council’s application for resource consent to continue discharging stormwater into the Wellington Harbour and along the coast.

Cr Daran Ponter, newly elected to the Greater Wellington Regional Council, today welcomed the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s decision to require more intensive monitoring of stormwater discharged into the Wellington Harbour and along the South Coast.

Cr Ponter says that managing stormwater is a part of living in an urban environment. “Stormwater is runoff from roads, industrial areas and domestic areas. In high rainfall events it is possible for sewage to enter into the stormwater system posing a threat to the natural environment, fishing and recreational activities.”

Cr Ponter says that the consent sends a strong message to the Wellington City Council to continue its planned improvement to upgrade both its sewerage and stormwater systems.

Cr Ponter says that the Regional Council has also limited the City Council’s resource consent to 10 years.

Cr Ponter said say that while the Wellington City Council has over the years demonstrated a responsible approach to addressing stormwater issues, including significant investment in stormwater and sewerage infrastructure, there was still more to do.

“There is still much to be done to ensure that sewage does not leak into the stormwater system and that the sewage system can cope during heavy rainfall events, says Cr Ponter.”

In particular the City Council still has a significant way to go to upgrade the Western Waste Water Treatment Plan (which processes Karori’s sewage) and to prevent sewage entering the stormwater system in older parts of the City’s network of sewers and stormwater drains.

Cr Ponter says that the Wellington City Council, the Wellington Regional Council and community groups and schools have a strong role to play in better educating the community about the consequences of tipping effluent “down the drain”.

He says that schools already have very strong environmental programmes that reinforce the connection between stormwater and the state of our Harbour and coastline.

“People need to be conscious of what they are doing. They need to be conscious that their drain is ultimately connected to the Harbour or the sea says Cr Ponter.

He says that the Lower Hutt City Council will need to take note of the conditions imposed on the Wellington City Council, as he expected the consent issued to the Wellington City Council would form the basis of a template to be applied elsewhere around the Harbour.

“If we are going to be guaranteed a clean Wellington Harbour then everyone is going to have to lift their game” says Cr Ponter.


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