Decision on wastewater slammed

The decision to let Horowhenua District Council pump Shannon's waste into the Manawatu River has been slammed.

Community members have said the council won't stick to the time frames it has promised to source land for land disposal and the regional council won't act if the council is non-compliant.

The council has been discharging wastewater into Stansell's Drain, which flows in Mangaore Stream and on to the Manawatu River. Its consent ran out in 2001 and there have been several unsuccessful applications for renewal since.

The council has now been issued a resource consent to continue discharging wastewater to the river for another four years - it originally wanted 22 - but in that time it must look at other options.

Farmer Wayne Rider, whose property borders the Shannon wastewater treatment plant, said he didn't hold any faith that the council would stick to the deadline the hearing commissioners had given.

"You just have to look at how it has dragged its feet since 2001; I'm convinced it will drag out any time frames it has been given."

At a consent hearing in April commissioners were told the council was committed to meeting the time frames it had set out to build a pipeline to discharge directly into the Manawatu River at high flows and to source land to use for land disposal at low flows.

But commissioners were concerned the time frames did not accurately reflect the ones in the council's 2012/22 long-term plan.

District council chief executive David Ward said the council would meet its deadlines. "We are committed to undertaking those works identified in our recently adopted 10-year plan for this project."

Mr Rider said he also had little faith in Horizons Regional Council ensuring the district council stuck to the rules.

Submitter Christina Paton said the Waitarere Environmental Care Association she represented was holding a special meeting to discuss the consent.

"We'll be discussing if there is a need to consult a lawyer in regards to an appeal."

Horizons said it wouldn't comment on the consent until after the appeal period was over and it would monitor the district council's consent as vigorously as any other.

Environmental policy expert Greg Carlyon, of Catalyst Group, said that it was clear the commissioners wanted to put a little pressure on the district council.

Manawatu Standard