Move to stop sewage leaking into river

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 07:44 03/03/2014

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The Marlborough District Council intends installing a new sewer main in Seddon to connect eight houses that are putting raw sewage into the Awatere River.

Sewage from seven houses in Nursery Lane drained into a communal septic tank, which did not have a standard soakage field but drained into the Awatere River from a pipeline running through a neighbouring vineyard.

The scheme was originally installed to service the houses and the nearby flax mill.

One house west of Nursery Lane was also connected to this septic tank.

Council water engineer Stephen Rooney said the scheme originally served the house and the nearby flax mill but the discharge of untreated sewage to the Awatere River was no longer permissible under the Wairau/Awatere Plan and Resource Management Act.

"An alternative solution must be found."

Mr Rooney said the preferred option was to replace the existing sewer line in Nursery Lane with a new PVC sewer main with three manholes, with a sewerage pump station to be installed in the northeastern corner of the council reserve where the old rabbiters' house was or in the road corridor nearby.

Sewage will then be pumped south to reticulation into existing council sewer mains to the Seddon sewer ponds system.

The new system would cost about $225,000, with the council paying that capital expenditure from the forestry reserve.

Residents would pay ongoing Seddon sewerage capital and operating rates and charges, with sewerage charges on rates adding $352 a year to each property, and then either $194 for houses with a land value of $100,000 or $132 for houses with a land value of $68,000. Their rates were now $1077 or $998.

Mr Rooney said affordability was an issue, and council was looking at rates remissions and rates postponements, and was working with Work and Income NZ to see what help was possible.

Wairau Awatere ward councillor Geoff Evans said the area was not wealthy and people needed assistance.

"They have been in an earthquake and people are still fragile out there. It is appropriate to go down the road we're going."

Wairau Awatere ward councillor Peter Jerram said there was a huge affordability issue for residents.

"It's a special case for assistance, these people. There are a very small number of people affected by a large amount of cost."

Mr Rooney said it was possible other properties could connect their sewerage to the council scheme in future.

"At present there has been no allowance for any contributions by additional properties in future. If there were additional connections the capital repayments (rates) could be re-calculated."

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- The Marlborough Express

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