Deadline looms for submissions on wastewater

Tomorrow is the last day for the public to have a say about changes to conditions controlling the quality of Palmerston North's wastewater discharge to the Manawatu River.

So far, only two submissions have been received, with tomorrow's 4.45pm deadline looming.

Horizons Regional Council launched a review of the resource consent conditions in response to concerns about the effects of the discharge downstream of the plant at times of low flow.

It publicly notified the review at the start of November.

The Palmerston North City Council was given a chance before the public notification to respond to the draft changes that would tighten control of nutrients entering the river in the discharge.

Both councils had earlier worked together to research the causes of increased algal growth downstream of the Totara Rd wastewater plant.

The studies showed a form of phosphorus not captured by alum treatment, and nitrogen, were feeding the growth.

The city council's response to the proposed changes was an undertaking to install a $2.9 million disc filtration system to remove particulate phosphorus. It has not volunteered to add an extra step to remove nitrogen.

Horizons' consents team leader, Phillip Hindrup, said he was expecting submission numbers to grow.

The next step in the process would be to set up a pre-hearing meeting between the councils and submitters, probably in February.

There was an opportunity for differences to be discussed and possibly resolved at that meeting, which would not be open to the public. If differences remained, a public hearing of submissions would be held.

Manawatu Standard