Ocean outfall concerns trigger public meeting

As public concern about a proposed ocean outfall at Glenavy grows, the company behind the plan has called a public meeting at Waimate.

Oceania Dairy Limited has lodged six resource consents with Environment Canterbury to build a 7.5km pipeline to discharge up to 10,000cu m of treated wastewater a day into the ocean. The company says this would future-proof its current land-based wastewater disposal.

At the Waimate Events Centre on Thursday, representatives from the project’s management consultants Babbage Consulting and the company will answer questions about the project and its potential environment impact assessment.

"The proposed pipeline would be used when our current method of disposing wastewater to land, which is currently used to supplement irrigation and nutrient levels of surrounding farmland, is not advisable due to heavy rain or during the wettest parts of the year," Oceania Dairy Limited supply and environment manager Shane Lodge said yesterday.

"The option of being able to supplement Oceania’s on-land wastewater disposal with an ocean outfall is much more sustainable than disposing wastewater only on to the land or into the ocean."

An investment of $650million over the past six years at the dairy factory had increased capacity to produce milk powder, infant formula and long-life UHT milk on site. Further expansion was planned.

An online petition against the outfall started a week ago by ActionStation campaigner Eliot Pryor had attracted 5374 signatures by yesterday morning.

"Dear [Environment Canterbury], we ask you urgently to decline the waste pipeline for Oceania Dairy which would discharge millions of litres of wastewater into the ocean every day," the petition stated.

"Our wild oceans are places of beauty, the living spaces for countless animal species, and our places of recreation.

"The Pacific Ocean is not a dumping ground."

Forest & Bird raised concerns about the cumulative effects of ocean outfalls, saying the current proposal would represent the third ocean outfall in a 35km stretch of South Canterbury coast.



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