Plan to take closer look at septic tanks

The Otago Regional Council will be looking at its Otago Water Plan, Plan Change 6B (PC6B) for urban water, within the next 18 months, and septic tanks will be one of the items looked at.

Director policy planning and resource management Fraser McRae said the notionally-named PC6B, because it followed on from Plan Change 6A, was to be included in the council's planning programme in about 18 months.

While work had been done on non-point discharges from rural areas under the Plan Change 6A, council staff would start to look at streamlining and simplifying the rules, explanations and descriptions, and setting limits and thresholds for urban water discharges etc.

''We are not looking at doing anything overly new,'' Mr McRae said.

''It won't be as new or novel as 6A.''

One of the areas they intended to look at was septic tanks.

He said some places where septic tanks were used might need to be looked at carefully, particularly if there was a high groundwater table, such as Outram, or where there was a large concentration of tanks, such as Clyde, or if the possibility of cross-contamination existed.

They would also be looking at stormwater and other urban run-off.

While rain washes the roads, it also washes contaminants such as bacteria, hydrocarbons and heavy metals into the stormwater system.

''They will be added to the list of things to look at,'' he said.

Mr McRae said they would hold public consultations and road shows closer to the time.

- by Yvonne O'Hara