The Waitaki District Council is working to improve wastewater
treatment in settlements, completing three projects recently
and investigating others, despite the significant financial
impact on ratepayers.
Issues with some treatment plants in the district, notably at
Moeraki and Kakanui which had significant issues, were raised
at an Otago Regional Council meeting last week.
The Waitaki council's water and wastewater asset manager
Martin Pacey said the council had been upgrading its
wastewater systems since 1994 and invested heavily to meet
environmental and health standards.
Finding wastewater solutions affordable for the district's
small, geographically isolated communities that can meet
required standards was a huge challenge requiring careful
planning and significant ratepayer funding, he said.
Wastewater upgrades also coincided with water supply upgrades
required to meet the Government's drinking water standards,
adding to costs.
That hit some communities with a small ratepayer base hard,
with wastewater, water and roading upgrades too.
In Moeraki, land stability was costly for ratepayers as well.
Recent upgrades for Kurow, Otematata and Omarama proved
successful, with ongoing costs controlled and environmental
performance improved, and with long-life consents issued.
Planned wastewater upgrades for the whole district should be
complete within three years and interim consents were issued
for Moeraki and Kakanui while upgrades were completed.
''Works are well under way for wastewater upgrades at
Kakanui, Palmerston and Moeraki,'' Mr Pacey said.
The council recently decided, in consultation with the
community, to connect Kakanui to Oamaru this year.
Palmerston was issued with a new consent to allow spray
irrigation of wastewater on to land within the next 12
months, maximising wastewater in a water-short area.
''Moeraki is the final significant planned wastewater
upgrade. However, replacement for this is not
straightforward, with no easy, affordable solution.
''Five options are being considered, but with only 200 users
to pay for any improvements, affordability is a major
The council was close to determining an acceptable and