Chief executive Paddy Clifford says the aim of the project is to start addressing matters related to compliance with the current resource consent as identified in the Joint River Monitoring Programme - in particular the growth of algae, bacteria and microbes (periphyton) and the impact on mayflies and other members of the macroinvertebrate community that are leading to a significant adverse effect in the River at times of low flow.
The action plan is estimated to cost $1.127million dollars this financial year and an estimated $435,000 to $635,000 in the following year.
"I'm pleased to report the plan should be able to paid from within existing budgets," says Mr Clifford. "Staff identified offsets where staff savings have arisen and in terms of Council's overall debt position being less than budget projection, which has led to a lower level of interest expense."
If adopted by Councillors the plan will be implemented immediately to take advantage of the summer low flow conditions in the River.
Water and waste service manager Rob Green says while the plan addresses the concerns raised in the Joint Monitoring Programme it will also help address the more general water quality matters that might be applicable in the future.
The plan comprises a mixture of further investigations, trials and specific improvements to treatment process and a consent review process. "We've structured it in a way to ensure all work is undertaken in a progressive and sequential way," says Mr Green.
"Once the causes of the periphyton growth are better understood the Council will be in an improved position to make decisions about operational changes or any new facilities required."
Rob Green says the plan is tentative in nature, especially from year two onwards, due to the uncertainty surrounding the causes of the observed effects in the River.
An allowance of $100,000 has been included in the proposed Action Plan in year 2013/14 to initiate an investigation into best practicable option although the bulk of any expenditure including any new capital work could be expected in the term of the 2015-25 LTP.