SWDC to consider short-term alternative to accelerate wastewater to land goal

SWDC to consider short-term alternative to accelerate wastewater to land goal

A new short-term option for discharging treated wastewater on land at the Featherston wastewater treatment site is to be considered by Council at its extraordinary meeting on 21 November.

The Council set a goal in its long-term plan to discharge one hundred percent of treated wastewater to land, except in exceptional circumstances, therefore almost entirely eliminating flows into our waterways.

This proposed, new consent differs from the application SWDC made in February 2017 as it is simply an application to discharge treated wastewater to land. The earlier, 35-year consent application had to take into account the ecological effects of discharging to Donald’s Creek.

The hearing for the 35-year consent application is scheduled for April 2019, meaning a possible outcome may not be reached for some time, depending on whether the hearings panel wants to wait until the outcome of the Regional Council Proposed Natural Resources Regional Plan.

Treated wastewater is already discharged to land near Martinborough and will start, in a few months, at the Greytown site but at Featherston progress has been slower.

SWDC Chief Executive Paul Crimp says, “We’re looking at a short-term solution to making progress against our goal to reduce or eliminate the impact on the environment, while we await the outcome of our consent application made in February last year.

“In any consent application to manage wastewater, we have to take into account health, environmental, and cultural considerations. This short-term consent would be a favourable, cost-effective, and faster option for moving towards our goal.

 “This new consent application would result in treated water being discharged to council-owned land at the wastewater treatment site, where irrigation equipment is already available and an extension of an existing pipeline would connect it to the treatment plant.”

Scientific assessment of the land identified in this new proposal (part of stage 1B in the earlier application) indicates treated wastewater could be discharged to it for most of the summer period, and into the autumn period.

“Taking this option would mean we would be out of the waterways for most of the time during the low flow period in Donald Creek,” says Mr Crimp.

The application would be made as an interim solution while we await the outcome of the resource consent process for the longer term solution.

ENDS

Background information is available on SWDC website - http://www.swdc.govt.nz/wastewater-treatment