Manapouri sewerage plan unpopular

Effluent scheme labelled 'ludicrous'

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014
Manapouri sewage protest
BARRY HARCOURT/Fairfax NZ

TAKING ACTION: Manapouri landowner Vicky Burch and her friend Sally Allen with a sign protesting against a Southland District Council proposal to pump sewage on to land near the Te Anau airport at Manapouri.

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The Southland District Council's proposed sewerage scheme for Te Anau has some Manapouri residents up in arms.

The council has proposed a 19km pipeline to pump effluent from Te Anau to land adjacent to the Te Anau airport, near Manapouri, where the sewage would then be spread over the land by irrigation.

Manapouri Community Development Area chairman Allan Youldon said he was "very much against the scheme".

"I think it's ludicrous."

Mr Youldon said the proposed scheme contradicted New Zealand's clean, green image.

He questioned the amount of research that had gone into the consent application to Environment Southland, which he said did not have any solid guarantees, but was full of hypothetical situations and possibilities.

He was also concerned about the possibility of odour drifting towards the town, having an effect on property prices, and driving people out.

Mr Youldon said he wanted to see the council start its planning process from the beginning.

Manapouri landowner Vicky Burch, who put up signs protesting against the proposed scheme, said effects on groundwater, nitrate levels and odour were just some of her concerns about the proposal.

"Imagine people flying into the airport and saying ‘Manapouri, that place stinks like poo'," she said.

She had attended the information days held at the airport in January but felt it was "too little information, too late".

"I feel we've been lied to."

She had gone door to door in the Manapouri community, trying to ensure everyone knew about the proposed scheme.

"Some people said they have never heard about it," she said.

Manapouri business owner Angela Bednar said she wanted the council to prepare an Environmental Management Plan before any further plans were made.

"It's kind of a David and Goliath situation right now."

"My heart lies with Lake Manapouri, and anyone who knows and loves it say they would do anything to protect it," she said.

Council water and waste manager Ian Evans said several public meetings had been held, both in Manapouri and Te Anau, during the formation of the proposal, although he conceded they were several years ago.

The council was confident it could contain any risks around nitrate levels, effects on groundwater, and the spread of odour.

"There are plenty of measures we can take to reduce any risks," he said.

He encouraged people to make their submissions on the proposed scheme. Submissions should be sent to Environment Southland by February 14.

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