Longburn and Bunnythorpe's sewage is set to be piped to Palmerston North for treatment within the next two years.
The city council last night decided wastewater from Longburn's residential area, college and former Sanitarium site should be connected as soon as possible, with a Bunnythorpe pipeline following closely behind.
The decision was opposed by Cr Chris Teo-Sherrell, who said the council should attend to problems with the Totara Rd wastewater treatment plant before increasing the flow of sewage to be treated there.
The consent for the discharge from the Longburn ponds expired several years ago and a consent to continue is unlikely to be granted.
The cost of the work would be about $600,000.
Bunnythorpe's connection should be made the following year. Although the town plant's operation is covered by Manawatu District Council's consents, its pond overflows when it rains, affecting the Mangaone Stream.
The cost of that pipeline has been estimated at $1.5 million.
The connections, still subject to attracting money in Annual Plan reviews, were supported by a majority of councillors.
Cr Annette Nixon said the council had responsibilities for the wellbeing of the systems, the land, the Mangaone Stream and the Manawatu River, and needed to put things right as soon as possible.
Cr Susan Baty said moving promptly was also the best choice financially.
And deputy mayor Jim Jefferies said the Bunnythorpe situation would not be publicly acceptable for very much longer.
However, Cr Ross Linklater argued for a delay with Bunnythorpe.
He said the future development on the north east industrial zone was likely to see an extension of the sewerage network toward the town, that would be supported by development contributions and reduce the cost to ratepayers.
Cr Lew Findlay disagreed with any moves to delay.
"It will never be cheaper than it is now, and we should get that wastewater properly treated before it goes in the river."
Cr Teo-Sherrell said he wished he shared the confidence that pipelines to Totara Rd would ensure proper treatment.
He believed it was "shocking" the council was making decisions without consulting the communities affected.
Mayor Jono Naylor rose to the defence of the Totara Rd plant, which has been found to be having a significant adverse effect on aquatic life downstream of the plant even though its discharge complies with consent conditions before it goes into the Manawatu River.
"It is certainly performing better than a plant with an expired consent, and will be a whole lot better for the Mangaone Stream than what's happening at Bunnythorpe now."
The council could not ignore those issues, Mr Naylor said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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