Consent granted for septic tank discharge bay until 2016

17:00, Jul 15 2014

Wharetukura Bay Holdings Limited has been granted consent to increase the discharge of treated sewage into the Wharetukura Bay, despite opposition to the potential marine impact.

The resource consent application granted by Marlborough District Council allows an increase in effluent discharge from 10.9 cubic metres per day to 11.2 cubic metres of domestic wastewater per day near Waikawa. As part of the consent a sewage outfall pipe can be used on the seabed and foreshore until August 2016.

The council's resource hearings committee heard that a cluster of houses in the Wharetukura Bay settlement are serviced by the effluent system. The existing system, constructed in 1977, consists of a series of septic tanks, from which discharge passes through a two-chamber sand filter and discharged via a sea outfall.

Opposing the consent, Lynda Neame said she was concerned about the lack of supporting monitoring data on effluent quality and the effects on the environment in the last 13 years.

Neame, who has a background in conservation and is a former laboratory scientist, said she objected to any sewage discharge into a water way. "I was particularly concerned over the effects on human health from shellfish gathering and recreational use.

"With this method of discharge any bacteria, viruses - basically anything that is put down a loo will get through to the marine environment."


In a submission, Te Atiawa Trust said irrespective of the degree of treatment, the discharge would pose a potential threat to marine habitats and water quality. The terms of consent should be no longer than 5 years in order for the Wharetukura Bay Holdings Limited to find a more suitable effluent solution, the trust said.

Under the terms of consent, council said signage must be erected advising the public of domestic waste discharge.

The effluent system must be kept in working order and two effluent samples must be collected bi-annually and laboratory tested.

Wharetukura Bay Holdings must ensure the effluent does not produce odour, change the colour or clarity of sea water or leave fish or shellfish rendered unsuitable for human consumption.

By August 2016, Wharetukura Bay Holdings Limited must consider possible sewage disposal alternatives, including land-based disposal.

The Marlborough Express