Costs of wastewater dispersal triple

Treated wastewater will no longer be discharged on the beach near the Moeraki Boulders. Photo:...
Treated wastewater will no longer be discharged on the beach near the Moeraki Boulders. Photo: Roy Sinclair
Treated wastewater from Moeraki will no longer be discharged on the beach near the Moeraki Boulders.

But as projected costs for a new effluent dispersal system had tripled to roughly $1,250,000 since the project was first planned, how the costs would be shared by ratepayers had yet to be determined by the Waitaki District Council, council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said.

"Obviously, that's quite a substantial increase," Mr Jorgensen said. And it was expected to have an impact on rates.

However, the work did need to go ahead; it was required to be finished by the end of the year to have a valid resource consent.

Council officers would investigate options to ease the rates burden for the community, he said.

New regional council standards had come into place after the project started, but discharging treated wastewater at the small creek next to the Department of Conservation car park for the visitor attraction was "not ideal" in the first place.

"Of course, that's not ideal, but that's what was consented at the time. Since that time, we weren't really happy with that discharge and at times it struggled to meet the consent conditions as well," he said.

"We essentially wanted to do something better, and so we looked at a land disposal option, which was a bit out of the way. And we had quite good negotiations with nearby landowners and we had something quite good ready to go. And then unfortunately, that land was no longer available. And so we had to look at another solution."

The council had since done extensive testing and the only other suitable soil involved installing a 4.5km pipeline to discharge on to land inland from the Hampden-Palmerston Rd (State Highway 1).

"Now we're in an environment where the standards are higher than what they were when we first started looking at the disposal field option. And so that means we have to basically, along with the pipeline, install some other kit to regulate the treated effluent disposal on to land."

Deputy mayor Melanie Tavendale asked officers to investigate funding options to come back for approval as it could be "another hit to Moeraki residents".

For a small community "costs like this are pretty massive" and the council should be investigating "how we can help this smaller community shoulder the costs".

The council had attempted to do that with other communities and it was a "good signal to send" to smaller communities.

Cr Craig Dawson, of Omarama, agreed a lot of smaller communities were facing "huge costs". Further, he said, the benefit to the environment had widespread benefits for the district.

Comments

Something is fishy here. For the price quoted, one can put in a fully functioning modern septic tank system at 120 properties ($30k each). But only 60 people live in Moeraki! Someone is taking a lot of people for a ride.

 

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