Manawatu District Council is set to spend $6 million upgrading its Feilding sewage treatment plant but its other plants are struggling to comply with environmental standards.
Out of nine discharge consents, only two complied in recent inspections by Horizons Regional Council, with Kimbolton, Sanson and Feilding classed as significantly non-compliant.
Feilding has been discharging on an outdated consent since June 2009, with a consent hearing for the plant scheduled for late November.
But it is the council's Kimbolton plant that is causing the regional council concern on three major points.
Testing has shown its discharge into the Oroua River has high levels of suspended solids, E-coli concentrations and ammonia-nitrogen concentrations in almost all of its sampling.
Horizons said it had been working with the district council to resolve the problem.
Manawatu District Council's infrastructure group manager Hamish Waugh said the council knew there was a problem with the plant and that it had set aside funding in its long-term plan to fix the problem.
"There's been some ongoing issue with the plant and the council spent $300,000 on it a few years ago to fix some problems but it didn't work, so it was decided to put aside some more money to get it up to standard."
Mr Waugh said the council would use $150,000 from the money it had received from the Ministry for the Environment's Fresh Water Cleanup Fund to help pay for the work needed.
"The work has been earmarked for this financial year so we hope to see a major improvement as soon as possible."
He said it would rectify the non-compliance issues once and for all.
Mr Waugh said finances prevented all plants being upgraded at the same time.
"It would take a lot of money and that money would have to come from ratepayers and that wouldn't be palatable, all at the same time."
Oroua Catchment Care Group chairman Dennis Emery said he hoped the council would take all necessary steps to ensure the Oroua River did not suffer from any environmental impacts.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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