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Changes to stormwater management mooted

The Hastings District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council are working together to improve the management and treatment of stormwater, to better meet expectations surrounding the health of our environment.

The joint approach is seen as key to resolve legacy issues such as Lowes Pit, and the management of associated stormwater issues.

An independent Tonkin and Taylor report found there is very low risk to the Frimley borefield from Lowes Pit.

The two councils have agreed that the way stormwater in this and other comparable industrial areas has been managed up until now is no longer appropriate to achieve the modern environmental outcomes that are expected.

To resolve these issues, it’s been recommended that Hastings District Council agree in principle to a multi-pronged strategy that combines stormwater treatment with a tighter catchment management framework.

Both organisations agree that changes to the regional rules that cover stormwater management need updating, and the current draft TANK plan change is key step.

At its meeting on Tuesday next week, council will consider whether to agree to this approach or continue with the current regime.

The proposed changes include tightening rules around industrial activities to manage site stormwater better, extra safeguards at the end of pipes to control and mitigate the potential effects of spills, road runoff and overland flows.

In addition, it would be likely that the Lowes Pit excavations that were dug through the 1940s to 1960s would be filled in.

An initial budget allowance of $2 million has been proposed for Hastings District Council to carry out this work, the funding requirement would be considered as part of the 2020/2021 annual plan deliberations.

In the meantime, further investigation and design work is underway to firm up the options and the expected costs of the package of actions.

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