MEDIA RELEASE: Community feedback helps SWDC with next steps for the Featherston wastewater to land proposal

24 July 2019

Feedback gleaned from six community engagement sessions on the Featherston wastewater to land proposal will help South Wairarapa District Council determine the best way forward in cleaning up the region’s waterways.

Council representatives will be joined by two expert consultants to answer residents’ questions about the project at the final two scheduled information drop-in sessions, being held at the Royal Hotel on Thursday at 11.30am to 1.30pm, and 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

SWDC’s consultants Sven Exeter (Senior Planner, Mott MacDonald) and Katie Beecroft (Land Treatment Specialist, Lowe Environmental Impact) will be attending Thursday’s sessions to answer the community’s questions related to consenting, planning and land treatment. Both specialists have been assisting the Council with technical assessments and consenting to enable the best possible outcome is achieved for the Featherston community.

Council is proposing to progressively move to discharging the town’s UV-treated wastewater to land rather than to waterways. Currently all Featherston’s treated wastewater goes into Donald’s Creek and eventually ends up in Lake Wairarapa/Wairarapa Moana in a more diluted form. Council aims to reduce the volume of treated wastewater discharged to Donald's Creek by 54% within two years of consent commencement, 68% within five years, and 94% within the next 13 years.

So far four community engagement sessions have been held throughout July, with some common themes being raised by the community.

Currently SWDC and their technical specialists are carrying out more detailed scientific investigations and technical assessments. These include looking into tertiary treatment of wastewater, which would be more effective at killing any pathogens that may be present, and all feasible add-on wastewater treatment plant technologies to reduce pathogens to an acceptable level, set by public health experts. Technical specialists are also investigating the effects of the treated wastewater on the receiving environment, including looking at what level of treatment would be necessary.  

Council Chief Executive Harry Wilson wishes to thank everyone who has attended the community engagement sessions. “Your feedback is valuable and has allowed us to better understand the community’s perspective on this project,” Mr Wilson says. “Your feedback is being considered by myself, Council staff and our consultants and will be used to assist us in finding the best way forward.

“We are hearing from the community that they want a higher level of wastewater treatment, which could come at a higher cost. We are currently modelling how the cost of tertiary treatment would impact rates and will be releasing this information to the community as soon as possible.”

Further communications will be provided back to the community once the Council has completed an analysis of the feedback. SWDC and Greater Wellington Regional Council are working together to identify when a hearing may be scheduled.

More information about the project is available at www.swdc.govt.nz/featherston-wastewater-project or you can email FTNwater@swdc.govt.nz. There are also some FAQs on the SWDC website.

ENDS

Media contact:

Amy Wharram

Communications Manager

027 252 2863

South Wairarapa District Council