Featherston wastewater options to be considered by Council

26 February 2020

SWDC originally lodged its resource consent application for the Featherston Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade in 2017. It set out a proposal to progressively discharge the town’s treated wastewater to land, diverting discharge from fresh waterways. The goal is to end the disposal of treated wastewater to waterways, which is environmentally and culturally unacceptable.

The consent application received 159 submissions when it was notified in July 2018. Since receiving instruction from the Hearings Panel to further investigate further potential environmental effects and public health concerns, SWDC and its experts have been investigating these. In the second half of last year, SWDC carried out a period of community engagement to dispel misinformation and gain a better understanding of the different perspectives within the community.

The date for the hearing by the independent panel of commissioners was postponed in October 2019 and a new date set for completion by 29 May 2020. This was to allow for the outcomes of community engagement and more detailed technical investigations to be available in time for the hearing. In light of community feedback; the new technical information available as a result of the investigations; the newly elected Council; and recent partnership with Wellington Water, the Council now wants to consider the best options on how to proceed.

The options for disposing of Featherston’s wastewater will be considered by the Mayor and councillors at the next meeting on 18 March. Some of these options, which include using add-on treatments to treat wastewater to a higher level or adding an alternative method to mitigate public health risk, could change the scope of the current application in the resource consent process, and the implications of this would have to be worked through with GWRC and the Hearings Panel. There is also the option to withdraw the current application completely and have a total rethink based on the most modern technology available today as well as taking into account climate change mitigation, therefore future-proofing the town’s wastewater disposal for the long-term.

More information available at swdc.govt.nz/featherston-wastewater-project

South Wairarapa District Council