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Council committed to finding best wastewater solution for city

Tuesday May 30 2017

Palmerston North City Council has formally started work on a future wastewater scheme for the city.

Photo shows ponds with flaxes with trees and hills in background.

Wastewater treatment ponds

A statement of intent adopted by Council yesterday aims to have a decision on the best option for the city no later than December 2020.

"How we deal with wastewater is a critical issue for our city and has a significant impact on the health of our river," says Robert van Bentum, Water & Waste Services Manager at Palmerston North City Council.

"Our current consent requires Council to apply for a new consent by June 2022. While that seems like a long way off, we need time to investigate the options and to consult with community and iwi to ensure we make the best decision for our city. The statement of intent adopted by Council today is a great step forward, demonstrating their commitment to the health of our river and to getting this right with the community."

Currently, all of the city's wastewater is delivered to the Tōtara Road Wastewater Treatment Plant, where the majority of contaminants are removed before it's discharged into the Manawatū River. Council is a member of the Manawatū River Leaders Accord and has been working to reduce the number of treated wastewater discharges throughout its catchment to enhance the water quality of the river.

"Shortly we'll identify a wide range of options for the future scheme which will include river based disposal like we have now, land based disposal, or a mixture of both. Ultimately we want to put a system in place that helps improve the health of our river in a way that's sustainable for our ratepayers."

A project group has been established to guide the development of options and lead engagement with iwi and community. The group will then make a recommendation to Council around December 2020. Resource consents will be lodged no later than June 2022 to ensure the new scheme is in place as soon as possible.

Engagement with the community will occur at several stages during the project.