The latest plan for Feilding's wastewater treatment plant will see 77 per cent of the town's treated effluent piped into the Oroua River.
Manawatu District Council submitted a new resource consent for the plant, the fifth version it has given Horizons Regional Council since 2008, on Friday.
At yesterday's Horizons environment committee meeting, Manawatu District Council infrastructure group manager Hamish Waugh laid out Manawatu's plans.
Mr Waugh said the district council had aimed to not discharge treated wastewater to the river when it was below median flow.
However, computer modelling had shown this was not possible and instead the council would discharge 10 per cent of the effluent it received into the river at low flows.
This would mean about 77 per cent of all wastewater entering the plant would be discharged to the river, with 23 per cent being irrigated on farms neighbouring the plant that had been purchased by MDC.
Cr John Barrow asked Mr Waugh if the council was taking a risk by carrying out upgrades of the plant before it had a resource consent.
Mr Waugh said the technology installed at Feilding had been proven to work around the world.
The consent application, he believed, met the requirements of Horizons' One Plan.
Environmentalist Christina Paton, a submitter to the Feilding consents, wants 100 per cent of Feilding's effluent out of the river.
Mr Waugh said this was not economically viable.
The council had purchased 160 hectares of land for irrigation and a full discharge to land would require the purchase of about another 1000 hectares.
That would come with a capital cost of some $80 million to buy the land and somewhere between a doubling and tripling of Manawatu District Council's targeted wastewater rate.
While the amount of discharge to the river is more than some submitters would like, the fifth iteration of the resource consent application comes a long way from that submitted in 2008.
The first application in 2008 had no improvements to treatment processes at the plant, and full discharge to water.
Since then Manawatu has spent millions of dollars upgrading the infrastructure at the wastewater plant.
A hearing into the consent application will be held in the new year.
- Manawatu Standard
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