Log yard discharge under fire at hearing

Port is seeking to redevelop log yard capacity from 9000 to 15,000 tonnes and upgrade wastewater discharge systems.

Port is seeking to redevelop log yard capacity from 9000 to 15,000 tonnes and upgrade wastewater discharge systems.

Log yard discharge earlier this year.

CONCERNS over the effects of discharges from Eastland Port’s wharfside log yard on the harbour’s marine ecosystem were raised during a resource consent hearing this week.

The port is seeking to redevelop the log yard capacity from 9000 to 15,000 tonnes and upgrade its wastewater discharge systems.

Ian Ruru, representing Ngati Porou Seafoods, told the panel of commissioners discharges from the log yards were having a negative impact on a koura (crayfish) nursery under the port.

As part of its consent, the port requested a 50-metre “mixing zone” for any potential contaminants discharged from the log yard into the harbour.

Mr Ruru said the mixing zone should instead be called a “dead zone”.

“It will decimate and destroy our taonga.”

He had seen the number of koura in the nursery decline over the years as pine resin and bark sediment from the site, among other contaminants, increased.

He wants a zero-metre mixing zone and for the effluent to be treated before it leaves the pipe. Otherwise, he requested the consent be turned down.

Mr Ruru also presented on behalf of Ngati Oneone, Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa and Te Aitanga a Mahaki.

During his presentation he showed the panel images of discharges from the log yards from Monday after two millimetres of rain.

“They had cleaned the log yard up. It was as good as that log yard will ever get. It is clear that their systems fail.

“Who is monitoring this? It seems it takes a member of the public to bring it to attention.”

Gisborne District Council acting shared services science manager Dennis Crone said in the past compliance with visual plume restrictions had been “most difficult to satisfy”.

The council regularly fielded complaints from the public about such discharges, especially about brown/red hue, and had issued abatement notices.

Port monitoring did not happen as often as it should, he said.

If consents were to be granted, the council requested time-lapse photography be installed, plus training of port staff, contractors and iwi kaitiaki to identify plumes from discharges.

Dr Shane Kelly, an environmental scientist who presented on behalf of the council, said time-lapse photography could be coupled with drone footage after heavy rain.

The size of the recommended mixing zone depended on the contaminants and sensitivity of the ecosystem.

They needed more data and better monitoring of effects on the ecosystem, and that should be a further condition of any consents granted.

Eastland Port’s ecological consultant Mark Poynter said the discharges were a “last resort” in the system.

Any discharge from the wharfside log yard would largely be pine resin and bark. The green copper treatment does not happen there, and there would be a period of monitoring of its effects.

While he accepted at times there were large concentrations of koura in the harbour area, he disputed the definition of the area as a “koura nursery” as there was no data to support it.

The area receives discharges from “multiple port and non-port related influences” that affect the water quality.

These include from other log yards, Kopuawhakapata Stream (which testing regularly shows has poor water quality), port dredging activities and discharges from roads and the marina.

CONCERNS over the effects of discharges from Eastland Port’s wharfside log yard on the harbour’s marine ecosystem were raised during a resource consent hearing this week.

The port is seeking to redevelop the log yard capacity from 9000 to 15,000 tonnes and upgrade its wastewater discharge systems.

Ian Ruru, representing Ngati Porou Seafoods, told the panel of commissioners discharges from the log yards were having a negative impact on a koura (crayfish) nursery under the port.

As part of its consent, the port requested a 50-metre “mixing zone” for any potential contaminants discharged from the log yard into the harbour.

Mr Ruru said the mixing zone should instead be called a “dead zone”.

“It will decimate and destroy our taonga.”

He had seen the number of koura in the nursery decline over the years as pine resin and bark sediment from the site, among other contaminants, increased.

He wants a zero-metre mixing zone and for the effluent to be treated before it leaves the pipe. Otherwise, he requested the consent be turned down.

Mr Ruru also presented on behalf of Ngati Oneone, Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa and Te Aitanga a Mahaki.

During his presentation he showed the panel images of discharges from the log yards from Monday after two millimetres of rain.

“They had cleaned the log yard up. It was as good as that log yard will ever get. It is clear that their systems fail.

“Who is monitoring this? It seems it takes a member of the public to bring it to attention.”

Gisborne District Council acting shared services science manager Dennis Crone said in the past compliance with visual plume restrictions had been “most difficult to satisfy”.

The council regularly fielded complaints from the public about such discharges, especially about brown/red hue, and had issued abatement notices.

Port monitoring did not happen as often as it should, he said.

If consents were to be granted, the council requested time-lapse photography be installed, plus training of port staff, contractors and iwi kaitiaki to identify plumes from discharges.

Dr Shane Kelly, an environmental scientist who presented on behalf of the council, said time-lapse photography could be coupled with drone footage after heavy rain.

The size of the recommended mixing zone depended on the contaminants and sensitivity of the ecosystem.

They needed more data and better monitoring of effects on the ecosystem, and that should be a further condition of any consents granted.

Eastland Port’s ecological consultant Mark Poynter said the discharges were a “last resort” in the system.

Any discharge from the wharfside log yard would largely be pine resin and bark. The green copper treatment does not happen there, and there would be a period of monitoring of its effects.

While he accepted at times there were large concentrations of koura in the harbour area, he disputed the definition of the area as a “koura nursery” as there was no data to support it.

The area receives discharges from “multiple port and non-port related influences” that affect the water quality.

These include from other log yards, Kopuawhakapata Stream (which testing regularly shows has poor water quality), port dredging activities and discharges from roads and the marina.

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