Stormwater rules with ‘teeth’ needed: council

Without a bylaw to control what is discharged into its stormwater network, the Gore District Council is like a ‘‘sitting duck’’,  its chief executive says.
Environment Southland issued the council an abatement notice in October last year after it received complaints about the colour of the water in Cronins Creek (more commonly known as Falconer Creek) in Gore.

The notice was revised in January this year following an appeal.

Part of the conditions of the notice was that the council prepare a framework, such as a stormwater bylaw, for consultation.

A report by Three Waters manager Matt Bayliss, which included a draft bylaw, was considered by councillors at a meeting on Tuesday.

Council chief executive Stephen Parry said a bylaw which had some ‘‘teeth’’ was needed so action could be taken if discharges from properties were not up to standard.

‘‘The stormwater system was receiving discharges from properties and has no meaningful way of controlling it, yet is a sitting duck facing the regulatory might of Environment Southland.’’

Speaking to his report, Mr Bayliss said there was no one property causing the problem and completely removing the suspended solids from the discharges would be challenging.

‘‘That could potentially require multiple treatment steps.

‘‘We’re going to have to target the worst areas first.’’

The bylaw would apply to all urban areas with a reticulated stormwater network.

Councillors voted to approve the draft bylaw and public submissions on the document would be called for in February.

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