Wastewater solution accepted by council

After about two decades, a solution may finally have been found for sewage and wastewater disposal problems at Hampden.

Various proposals have been explored over the year, including in 2006 a fully reticulated scheme with a treatment plant costing up to almost $6 million and costing property owners more than $28,500.

The town has 207 residential dwellings, but many vacant sections which could be developed. It is the largest community in the Waitaki district without a reticulated wastewater treatment system.

Now the Waitaki District Council's committee of the whole has accepted recommendations from a Hampden Wastewater Liaison Group that it introduce a managed on-site (such as septic tanks or other individual property solutions) wastewater programme, expected to cost about $65 a ratepayer a year.

While the cost of installing and maintaining suitable systems would be on individual ratepayers, the council would fund improvements as a last resort, which would be paid for by rates against the property.

It has recommended the council include that programme in its 2013-14 annual plan, which would also give people a chance to have their say before the proposal was approved or rejected.

While the town does not have a major problem with disposal - only two issues were found on 50 properties surveyed - there were worries about how well systems were working, how they were being maintained and the potential for future health or environmental problems.

In 2006, after extensive investigations, a full scheme was proposed but the cost was prohibitive.

The topic was revived again last year and all options discussed with the community.

Waihemo Community Board chairman Rod Philip said the board thought it was time to ''give the issue a real shove along''.

Feedback from Hampden people at a forum was they were happy with the proposal for a managed on-site wastewater programme.

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton praised the proposal and said steps had been taken, solutions found and the result was extremely positive.

Strategy group manager Richard Mabon said the aim was to give certainty to Hampden people.

The solution would enable development in the town, at the same time achieving good public health and environmental outcomes.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz