Ashhurst, Longburn pipelines on track

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 07:33 15/05/2014

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The Ashhurst to Palmerston North sewage pipeline is on track to be commissioned in the last week of May, allowing the village's discharge to the Manawatu River to be closed down.

Within weeks of completion of the $4.5 million project, Longburn will also be connected to a $600,000 pipeline to the city's Totara Rd wastewater treatment plant.

Horizons Regional Council strategy and regulation group manager Nic Peet said it was a win for the environment to have two "pretty poor quality discharges" removed from the river. "We have no consenting issues about Palmerston North adding Ashhurst and Longburn flows to the existing wastewater treatment plant," he told yesterday's environment committee.

But regional councillor Paul Rieger said there was a public perception that the increased flows would put extra pressure on the plant, which was already facing issues in meeting discharge consent conditions, and had attracted some complaints about odour.

"We need some additional assurance that the flows from Longburn and Ashhurst are not going to be exacerbating problems at the existing plant."

Peet said the regional council's concern was the quality of the discharge from Totara Rd, rather than the quantity of wastewater that went through it.

City council water and waste services manager Rob Green has given the assurance Rieger asked for. He said the plant had been designed with capacity to cope with city growth and increased flows.

At the moment it was running at about 75 per cent of its capacity.

The Ashhurst and Longburn flows would add about 2 per cent to the total. "They are relatively small amounts, and there will be no issue."

Horizons' proposed tightening of consent discharge conditions has attracted 39 submissions, and a facilitator's report on a meeting among the parties last month was expected soon. Commissioners are being selected for a hearing likely to be held in August.

At issue is whether the city council's proposal to install a $2.9m filtration system to remove more phosphorus from the discharge goes far enough. Horizons is pushing to limit the amount of nitrogen flowing into the river as well.

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- Manawatu Standard

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