Shades of effluent

22:06, Feb 13 2014

As a ratepayer of Manapouri, I read with interest the letter from Southland District Council chief executive David Adamson and wondered why he thought it necessary to write such a letter and to be scathing of A Bednar.

As Mr Adamson states ''the treated water comes from the outlet of the treatment ponds in Te Anau''. Not Manapouri.

''At the moment the treatment ponds in Te Anau safely discharge into the Upukerora River. However, the proposed enhancements to the effluent and applying it to land will provide additional protection to our lakes''.

So they intend to improve the sewage treatment but not to a standard to get a consent to discharge to an open waterway.

What Mr Adamson did not say was the effluent they hope to spray on land by Te Anau Airport at Manapouri will, by their own admission, contain human faeces.

While it may better protect our lakes, it certainly will not protect those people who live close by, and could even endanger their health.


He admits ''that little or no microbiological contaminants will escape, instead they are likely to die as they pass through the unsaturated soil above groundwater''.

He doesn't say how or by whom this is to be monitored or even if it is to be monitored.

There is occasionally heavy rain in this area. Mr Adamson did not mention where they were going to discharge the effluent when the soil becomes waterlogged and there is surface flooding.

He admits there will be ''a risk of odour'' and has identified a series of measures to mitigate the risk.'' But ''these are being further development in a detailed odour management plan''.

I read this to mean that they acknowledge there will be odour and that they still don't really know how to control it, but hope it won't affect anyone.

If they are so sure it will not affect anyone, then why don't they offer a guarantee and/or compensation to those who it will affect?

Surely the management plans he talks of should form an integral part of the resource consent application, and therefore be open to public comment and input.

Perhaps Mr Adamson or his team and their consultants would like to comment further.

There is very little black and white, only various shades of grey.



Southland District Council chief executive David Adamson replied:

The proposal for treatment and disposal of wastewater has been developed over a number of years and in conjunction with several key stakeholders including community representatives.

The council has bought in specialist expertise to ensure that the scheme is optimised and risks are minimised.

It should be noted that the council already runs two effluent spray irrigation schemes and these are located in Otautau and Tuatapere.

Effluent spray irrigation is common practice utilised throughout many communities in New Zealand.

The issues raised by Mr Youldon have all been considered by the council and have been identified in the application. They will be further addressed in the Environment Management Plan, which is currently being drafted.

The management plans will form part of the resource consent and a draft will be available for the hearing panel to consider and amend as they see fit. This will also include proposals for monitoring to show that consent conditions are being met.

People interested in this consent application should make submissions to Environment Southland by today, February 14.


The Southland Times