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Three major oil companies have joined forces to oppose a new bylaw for the management of wastewater runoff in Dunedin.
The Dunedin City Council is reviewing its trade waste bylaw.
Trade waste is any liquid waste, apart from usual kitchen and bathroom waste, produced by a business and sent through the sewerage system.
One of the proposed changes to the bylaw would mean approval would be needed from the council before contaminants could be discharged into the stormwater system.
Four submissions were received on the proposed bylaw, three in support and one against which was signed by three companies.
Z Energy, Mobil and BP said the proposed bylaw would not provide effective and efficient management of stormwater and trade waste networks, and would not meet the current and future needs of the community.
Activities of interest covered by the bylaw included service station forecourt management, car washing and construction site runoff.
The companies said there were no grounds to require discharges to be defined as trade waste and redirected to wastewater.
They were concerned the stormwater provisions were too stringent and harsher than those set by the Otago Regional Council.
The submission said the approach the council had proposed was out of step with national good practice, particularly because it required runoff from forecourts to be discharged to the wastewater system as trade waste.
Concerns were expressed about a need to discharge those flows to the wastewater system, effects on the wastewater system capacity, the trade waste consent process and the potential costs of waste disposal.
As a result of the submissions, council policy analyst Jacinda Baker proposed amendments to the bylaw which the regulatory subcommittee would consider.
The first clause of the bylaw was amended to say "no person may, without the prior approval of the council, discharge, directly or indirectly, a contaminant to the stormwater system that is likely (individually or cumulatively) to cause nuisance, or adversely affect the environment or operation of the stormwater system. The council may specify conditions with any approval given".
Ms Baker said the amendments addressed the oil companies’ concern but did not change the council’s position "that contaminated runoff from high-risk activities such as service station forecourts should not be discharged into the stormwater system".
The council would not be monitoring the volume of discharge from a forecourt and would not charge for it on that basis, she said.
The annual trade waste consent fee is $178.
The Southern District Health Board, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter and local iwi supported the majority of proposed changes.
The council is also reviewing its stormwater quality bylaw, and on Thursday the regulatory subcommittee will consider submissions made.
It will come up with a recommendation on the bylaws to present to the full council.