Sewerage sludge call

Queenstown residents will have the chance next month to question the decision to stockpile about 2200 dry tonnes of sewerage pond sludge near the end of Queenstown Airport's runway.

The disposal option was agreed on at yesterday morning's Queenstown Lakes District Council infrastructure services committee meeting and stems from the Project Shotover waste proposal.

Project Shotover, a $42 million wastewater and sewerage facility at the Shotover Delta, was designed to end the discharge of treated wastewater into the river and was given Environment Court approval last May.

However, the council last April deferred development set for 2013 to allow further investigation into more cost-effective solutions before the 2014 consent deadline.

Removing sludge from the Shotover ponds was one of the improvements deemed necessary to mitigate "quality of effluent and uncontrolled odour release" risks in the meantime.

A report from project manager Martin O'Malley said the proposal had concerned residents in Glenda Dr and Quail Rise, "mainly in relation to the potential for odour and ... leachate".

The accepted option will see sludge stockpiled at the Shotover Delta, where it will be seeded, forming a "solid layer on top to prevent odour", and potentially used for planting at the delta.

A public drop-in session will be held at the Queenstown Events Centre from 5pm to 8pm on Wednesday, April 4, with a mail drop planned for Glenda Dr and Quail Rise residents this week.

Mr O'Malley said all of the pertinent information would be on hand as would council staff, who would be "more than happy to discuss it with people".

In the meeting's public forum, Remarkables Park and Shotover Park planning liaison manager Deb Taylor expressed "serious concerns" over possible odour from the site.

Ms Taylor said the companies opposed the adoption of that option as it had the "greatest potential to cause serious odour concerns" and proposed the desludged material be stored indefinitely.

"This could affect large areas of zoned land for residential developments at Remarkables Park, elsewhere on the Frankton Flats, Quail Rise and even Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country."

Of other options presented to the council, one involved trucking the desludged material straight to landfill areas, which would cost $4,390,099 - $870,099 more than budgeted for in the annual plan.

The second option involved drying the stockpiled material at the delta to a maximum of 20% moisture content, thus reducing its weight and dropping the estimated cost to $1,660,403.

In response to Ms Taylor's concerns, Mr O'Malley said staff were confident odour concerns could be mitigated, and if this were not the case the council would proceed with the second option.

Mr O'Malley yesterday told the Otago Daily Times that, although the black sludge could be seen from planes flying into the resort, it was expected to quickly grass over.


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