Where does my poo go when I flush?
Once wastewater is treated, it can only be disposed of to water or to land. The Natural Resources Regional Plan (NRRP) and proposed Land and Water Regional Plan (pLWRP) contains objectives and policies for managing the water quality of rivers arising from discharges. The proposed Hurunui-Waiau River Regional Plan (pHWRRP) also contains objectives and policies that aim to manage the water quality of the Waiau Rivers and its tributaries.
In 2009, all submissions to the consent application for discharge supported a change from the existing post-treatment discharge in Hanmer Springs to the Chatterton River (a tributary of the Waiau River), to instead discharge to land.
In 2010, a Resource Consent (CRC100864.1) was granted for treated wastewater to be discharged into the Chatterton River until March 2015. Condition 24 of this Consent required the Council to explore options for disposing of effluent past March 2015.
The Council prepared a report detailing 3 possible options (download this brochure for full details):
1. Disposal to land via spray irrigation. Pasture can be grown some months to help offset operational costs.
2. Discharging to land when seasonal ground conditions permit, and to water at other times of the year.
3. Improving treatment levels to enable the continued discharge to water.
Since all the submissions to the consent process favoured the land option, the Council investigated several sites. Different morphology, soil types, and accessibility means that not all land is equally suitable, and the best option was a 53ha site near Hanmer Springs. The cost for the land and capital works was calculated to be $1.2 million. This option was included in the Long Term Plan (LTP) 2012-2022 for 2015/2016.
A more detailed geotechnical assessment of the land since then has shown that 73 ha is needed. The asking price for the land has also inflated so that with capital costs, the total cost is now $3.8 million.
Alternative suitable land owned by Ngai Tahu would cost considerably less, but given the distance and other factors, the infrastructure, design, operational and consent process would cost more.
The Hanmer Springs Community Board is having an “Open Forum” at 1.00pm at the start of their 18 August meeting and invites anyone who wants to know more or would like to talk to the Board about this project to come along. The meeting will be in the Hanmer Springs Library in the Gallery. Council wastewater/utilities staff will be at the open forum to answer any questions about the wastewater disposal and the regulations.