An inspection regime for septic tanks is likely to be needed
but more information will be required before the Otago
Regional Council sets a policy, chief executive Peter Bodeker
Yesterday, councillors considered a report - which many said
was a long time coming - on the risk septic tanks posed to
Otago's groundwater systems.
Mr Bodeker said it was clear there was a huge amount of
confusion concerning the best operation and maintenance of
septic tank systems.
''Even my own situation, with a relatively new septic tank,
it was difficult.''
There had to be some investigation into finding the best
answer to the problem and the type of inspection or
enforcement regime required.
Chairman Stephen Woodhead said information had to be
available for landowners, so they knew how to manage their
Although the report suggested best practice was to de-sludge
a septic tank every few years, a couple he knew believed the
worst thing they could do was touch their tank.
''As a result, it's sat there for 30 years.''
Cr Bryan Scott said, having read the report, he now had to be
more diligent with his own septic tank ''than possibly I have
Cr Sam Neill said that as no-one checked the quality of the
water coming out of such systems, everyone thought they were
Cr Gretchen Robertson said it was important rules concerning
septic tanks in priority areas were tightened and different
ways of using permitted activity rules should be
Cr Doug Brown called for the ''real situation'' to be
assessed, rather than relying on modelling.
Cr Gerry Eckhoff said: ''We're going to have to put some real
resources in to get to the facts.''
The committee agreed to develop a plan change covering septic
tanks using the information in the report.