Residents get say on sewerage upgrade

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 11:30 25/02/2014

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Picton residents will get the chance to voice their concerns over the Surrey St sewerage pump station upgrade next month.

Marlborough District Council assets and services manager Mark Wheeler said yesterday that a hearing had been scheduled on March 19 to consider the submissions.

He said council staff had gone to some length to ensure Surrey St residents were consulted and made aware of the reason for the upgrade and were clearly advised as to how and when to make submissions.

All six Surrey St households had chosen to take part in the process and could be assured their viewpoints would be heard, Mr Wheeler said.

The pump upgrade formed part of the larger Picton sewerage system upgrade.

Surrey St residents said their main concerns were the 7-metre height of the building blocking their views; the proximity of the pump station to Memorial Park Stream; and the health issues caused by the overflow of effluent into the stream.

The new pump station would be larger than the existing one as it was required to handle larger volumes, Mr Wheeler said.

"In extreme storms there would still be some overflow going to the stream, but the capacity had to be increased to reduce this. At the moment we can get overflows several times a year, the upgrade should reduce incidents to only once every 10 years," Mr Wheeler said.

Surrey St resident David Jones said they had suggested an alternative site for the pump station on the other side of the stream in Memorial Park.

"The new pipeline is running down across the field anyway so why not just adjust the route a little and extend the pipes a bit," he said.

Another Surrey St resident, Kris Poultney, said other sites should be considered.

"Families and visitors use the space and we were told at our meeting with council in October 2013 that other sites were considered. In their report, council, however, says they didn't find it necessary to consider alternative sites, routes or methods. That really annoyed me - is nature, our properties and opinions not reason enough to take the time to consider other sites?" she said.

Mr Wheeler said the alternative site for the pump station suggested by residents was not as viable as the existing site.

Any shift would involve re-location of existing sewer pipelines and the laying of new outfall lines. That would be a major project for Picton and would mean an increase in sewer rates levied on Picton ratepayers, he said.

Residents also suggested the installation of storage tanks at the pump station that overflow could run into instead of the stream.

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This would also be problematic, Mr Wheeler said.

"Technically it would be possible, but the tanks would be extremely expensive and look far worse than the proposed building. Costs would be even higher to sink the tanks underground," he said.

- The Marlborough Express

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