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New path forward for Wastewater Treatment proposed

Tuesday June 9 2015

Wastewater treatment plant

In February this year, the panel of Commissioners hearing a review of the conditions of Council's consent to discharge wastewater to the Manawatū River released its interim decision. The interim decision indicated the Commissioner's view that the discharge from the wastewater treatment plant is having more than a minor effect on the life-supporting capacity in the river and proposed a set of new consent conditions to be met by 2022. The Commissioners called on Council to work with Horizons to review the process and to make comments.

The proposal to bring forward the end of the consent period is part of Council's overall submission that includes a letter of support from Horizons Regional Council. These were lodged with the panel today.

Mayor Grant Smith says Council agreed to the submission in a Part II session of Council.

"We want a long-term sustainable solution that is in the best interests of the river and ratepayers, rather than multiple ad hoc actions that will cost more."

Chief Executive Paddy Clifford says as requested by the Commissioners, he and Council officers met with their colleagues at Horizons Regional Council.

"I've been very impressed with the willingness of everyone to focus on common ground in a bid to find a path forward."

Mr Clifford says while the submission, if supported by the Commissioners, will provide Council with a challenge, it will provide certainty of the approach to take and staff will work towards that.

Water and Waste Services Manager, Rob Green says the submission also proposes not to install a $2.9m disc filtration system at the plant as planned.

"Instead, we want to consider the disc filtration system as part of the mix when we consider the best practicable option for which Council will seek resource consent. It may be, that a land-based discharge is used during low flow periods in the future and therefore that would negate the need for a disc filtration system."

Special Projects Manager Phil Walker says the submission also includes a request not to insert in-river compliance conditions and instead monitor in-river conditions. The intention is that information gathered will influence the 2022 consent application.

If the submission is accepted by the Commissioners then Council will need to commence a review in 2017 to prepare for the next resource consent application which will need to be lodged in 2022.

The Submission will now be considered by the Commissioners.

For more information:
Phil Walker
Special Projects manager
Palmerston North City Council
356 8199