Discharge consent sought for wastewater scheme

A delay in the construction of Riversdale wastewater infrastructure has required the Southland District Council to reapply for consent to discharge water into a stream.

Wastewater in Riversdale is received and treated in a single stage oxidation pond that was built and commissioned in 1974.

An oxidation pond treats the town’s wastewater and discharges it to the nearby Meadow Burn.

A soakage channel was added and the Southland District Council was permitted to discharge treated wastewater to the Meadow Burn when wastewater volumes exceeded the rate of infiltration through the base of the channel.

This could be caused by high groundwater levels.

In 2014, council began the process of gaining consent to build and operate a land-based disposal scheme using rapid infiltration basins, while still retaining the soakage channel and the ability to lawfully discharge treated wastewater in emergency or extreme weather events.

Construction had taken longer than expected, and the allowance to discharge to the stream would expire in October.

The council, therefore, had to apply to the regional council to be able to continue this for another five years.

Once the scheme was operational, wastewater discharges to the Meadow Burn would stop.

The application explained how the council considered five years to be a prudent timeframe.

The key delay related to land purchase: "While construction is yet to commence, it will advance with urgency once the land purchase is complete."

This was expected to be by October 2024, and the targeted date for an operational scheme was October 2025.

The application to Environment Southland is open for submissions until August 13.


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