Discharge into river cheapest option

00:00, Jun 26 2013

The Horowhenua District Council will continue discharging treated human effluent and wastewater into the Manawatu River - despite concerns from the public.

A public meeting to discuss the Shannon wastewater upgrade last night was met with unease after the council dismissed "option C" - full discharge onto a $4.1 million farm it purchased.

Instead, two options that mix land irrigation and discharging into the Manawatu River are now open to public feedback.

Council community assets manager Wally Potts said Option C was double the cost council had set aside in its budget - other options for partial irrigation were fully funded.

"Option C was just too expensive and technical - it was very high-risk," he said.

Environmental scientist Hamish Lowe said a farm with average soil quality had been bought by the council for irrigation.

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"It's in the area where it's traditionally wet but there are parts that are dry which can be used for irrigation effectively," he said. "There are a number of areas that would be able to be used but there is a stopbank and a lagoon."

The 85-hectare farm - named Velvaleen - cost $4.1 million and is situated on the banks of the Manawatu River.

John Williams, who is the only neighbour who farms next to Velvaleen, said the council had given him assurances the system would be foolproof.

"My biggest concern for the project is the cost to ratepayers in the poor areas of Shannon," he said.

Cr Anne Hunt said: "It was disappointing not a single elected member was present to hear the feedback from the members of the public who made an effort to come along."

Manawatu Standard