Participate Palmy

What is Nature Calls?

Every time you remove a plug, flush, turn off a tap, or your dishwasher or washing machine beeps – that water goes to our Wastewater Treatment Plant at Tōtara Road, where it's treated before being discharged into the Manawatū River.

Managing water resources and the discharge of wastewater is the joint responsibility of the City Council and Horizons Regional Council. The mechanism we use that allows us discharge our treated wastewater is the resource consent process under the Resource Management Act (RMA).

This project focuses on how we treat and discharge the wastewater you create, for up to the next 35 years

In Palmerston North, we do a pretty good job of managing our wastewater. We highly treat and discharge our wastewater under conditions set in our resource consent. That’s one of the methods the Resource Management Act uses to ensure we look after our water and our environment properly. We need to apply for a new one of these by mid-2022.

Since we got our last one back in 2006, laws and standards have changed, along with many people’s views about the environment. This means that our current treatment method isn’t one of the options for the future. It would also not meet future requirements.

While the current discharge complies with all the conditions of our consent, this impacts on the ecology and water quality of the Manawatū River. This project is looking to identify the best practicable option for treating and discharging wastewater and the impacts on the river and/ or other environments.

The RMA process requires an option that appropriately avoids or mitigates adverse effects on the environment and meets the purpose and principles of the RMA (Part 2). To meet these requirements we will investigate – and show proof of – our analysis of possible options and the potential effects on the natural, social, cultural and economic environments. It is essential that we also engage with our community.

We’re calling this project Nature Calls. It is one of the largest projects Palmerston North City Council has undertaken. It will be the biggest environmental and financial decision our city needs to make in the coming years.