Open days to explain wastewaster proposal

The opportunity for Te Anau residents to hear about a proposed multimillion-dollar wastewater disposal scheme for the town was provided at an open day yesterday.

Southland District Council staff, Mayor Gary Tong and councillors John Douglas and Alistair Jukes were at Te Anau Airport, near Manapouri, to offer residents a chance to ask questions about the proposed scheme, which will see wastewater from Te Anau spread across 70 hectares of land north of the airport.

They will be at the airport again today for the second of the two open days.

Council waste and water manager Ian Evans said residents who attended the open day did not have any questions that surprised staff.

"We haven't heard anything new. They wanted to know about smell, impact on ground water, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to implement."

The estimated project cost is $9.8 million to $11.9m.

"That covers three things - the upgrade of existing facilities, the cost of running a pipeline between Te Anau and the airport, and buying the irrigators," he said.

The proposed scheme includes upgrading the existing treatment process, by installing aerators to increase the oxygen in the wastewater and reduce smells, screens for solids, and a survey to determine whether sludge needed to be removed from sewage ponds to increase their capacity.

Mr Evans said control measures would be put in place to deal with any smells from effluent being spread by the irrigators.

"We put extra oxygen into the effluent, will plant shelter belts, and keep the droplets from the irrigators a certain size so they fall to the ground quickly before they can be blown around."

The council has lodged an application for a 35-year consent for the disposal of wastewater from Te Anau with Environment Southland because the current consent expires in October.

"We do encourage people to come along [today]. We want them to be able to make informed submissions on the proposal."

Submissions must be sent to Environment Southland by February 14.

The Southland Times