Questions continue to be raised about the health and
environmental risks of a proposed sewage sludge-drying
facility near Luggate.
However, the Queenstown Lakes District Council hopes an open
day tomorrow will help alleviate the community's concerns.
A solar-drying facility to convert sludge from Wanaka's
Project Pure wastewater plant into fertiliser has been
proposed by Fulton Hogan and the QLDC as an alternative to
trucking the sludge 70km to the Victoria Flats landfill.
The facility would be built on Fulton Hogan land at the
corner of McKay Rd and State Highway 8A, and sludge treated
there would be ploughed into neighbouring land.
At a public meeting last month, Luggate residents requested
more information on the proposal, and scientific research
reports on the re-use of bio-solids - provided by the Otago
Regional Council - were circulated to the community.
From 9am tomorrow, an open day hosted by Fulton Hogan and the
QLDC will be held at the site earmarked for the facility.
The event would give residents a further chance to discuss
any concerns and to see where the building would be
positioned, QLDC infrastructure and assets general manager
Erik Barnes said.
Luggate Community Association president Geoff Taylor said
there was a lot of objection to the proposal within the
Luggate community and a sub-committee of the association had
been formed specifically to investigate the risks.
While odour was a worry, people were primarily concerned
about the pathogenic risk once the dried material was
transferred to the soil and subsequently into the food chain.
''I don't think there'll be anything to fear from the drying
process ... it's where it goes on to land,'' Mr Taylor said.
''There's all sorts of pathogens which are not necessarily
biodegradable and can finish up as dust in the air and can be
blown from here down to Cromwell, all the way down the Upper
Mr Taylor said the community felt there was ''no reason'' why
the sludge could not be solar-dried as proposed, to reduce
its volume and therefore cartage costs, but still transported
to the landfill, rather than applied to land.
Mr Barnes said the council had carried out extensive research
on bio-solid re-use and he assured the Luggate community
there would be no pathogen risk from the material ploughed
into the soil.
''As long as it's treated well and it's processed well and
it's given enough time to actually go through that then the
risks are mitigated.
''We are confident ... and it's the assurances of our testing
regimes ... ensuring that we have good protocols and
management practices in place, and holding ourselves to
Residents had nothing to fear from dried sludge material
blowing off the land into residential areas, he said.