Water challenges outlined in report

Treatment bypassed when pipes flood.

Treatment bypassed when pipes flood.

UNTREATED wastewater is pumped into Poverty Bay more often than the controversial discharges into city rivers, according to a presentation, Our Water Challenges, prepared by senior Gisborne District Council staff.

The presentation, made to the Future Tairawhiti committee, also said the Waipaoa River would not meet the Government’s recently-announced sustainable swimming standard.

Flooded wastewater sometimes bypasses the biological trickling filter (BTF) plant, which treats the city’s wastewater, and goes straight out to sea. That happens more frequently than discharging into the river.

The opening of scours into the rivers to discharge wastewater happens all over New Zealand and used to be more frequent but few people were aware of it.

Now signs were put up and people were saying “this is terrible.”

Whatever decision is made on whether to build a new BTF plant or create a wetlands system, industrial waste will still go into the bay through the outfall pipe.

The waste would be screened but it would not go through the BTF plant.

Land for another dam was available at Mangapoike but building one would cost many millions. The forthcoming freshwater plan could lead to changes in the way the utilities department was able to operate the wastewater system.

The presentation said it took just four properties putting their roof water in the wastewater to overwhelm a system. Two properties directing surface water into gully traps would also do that. As an example, there were 136 properties in Crawford Road and it would take only two to overwhelm the system.

Providing a supply to rural townships was a challenge.

It cost $860 for a tanker-load of water in Ruatoria. By contrast, a city resident had access to as much water as they liked for $200.

At Wainui, there were 620 on-site wastewater systems, most of which were installed before 2002 when new standards came in.

There were public health issues with ground water and surface water contamination.

There had been no research into payment options for reticulation when the issue was raised in 2006. These could be smoothed out over a number of years.

Everyone else paid $200 for water and Wainui residents would have been asked to pay $30,000 for reticulation — so the process had been parked when it was put to the Wainui community in 2006.

There was a health issue in providing systems for rural townships.

An application was made for a Ministry of health subsidy in Te Araroa but the application was declined.

There were issues with irrigation permits on the Poverty Bay Flats, which were now being renewed every five years instead of 30 years as in the past.

There could be issues around who had access to this “white gold”.

UNTREATED wastewater is pumped into Poverty Bay more often than the controversial discharges into city rivers, according to a presentation, Our Water Challenges, prepared by senior Gisborne District Council staff.

The presentation, made to the Future Tairawhiti committee, also said the Waipaoa River would not meet the Government’s recently-announced sustainable swimming standard.

Flooded wastewater sometimes bypasses the biological trickling filter (BTF) plant, which treats the city’s wastewater, and goes straight out to sea. That happens more frequently than discharging into the river.

The opening of scours into the rivers to discharge wastewater happens all over New Zealand and used to be more frequent but few people were aware of it.

Now signs were put up and people were saying “this is terrible.”

Whatever decision is made on whether to build a new BTF plant or create a wetlands system, industrial waste will still go into the bay through the outfall pipe.

The waste would be screened but it would not go through the BTF plant.

Land for another dam was available at Mangapoike but building one would cost many millions. The forthcoming freshwater plan could lead to changes in the way the utilities department was able to operate the wastewater system.

The presentation said it took just four properties putting their roof water in the wastewater to overwhelm a system. Two properties directing surface water into gully traps would also do that. As an example, there were 136 properties in Crawford Road and it would take only two to overwhelm the system.

Providing a supply to rural townships was a challenge.

It cost $860 for a tanker-load of water in Ruatoria. By contrast, a city resident had access to as much water as they liked for $200.

At Wainui, there were 620 on-site wastewater systems, most of which were installed before 2002 when new standards came in.

There were public health issues with ground water and surface water contamination.

There had been no research into payment options for reticulation when the issue was raised in 2006. These could be smoothed out over a number of years.

Everyone else paid $200 for water and Wainui residents would have been asked to pay $30,000 for reticulation — so the process had been parked when it was put to the Wainui community in 2006.

There was a health issue in providing systems for rural townships.

An application was made for a Ministry of health subsidy in Te Araroa but the application was declined.

There were issues with irrigation permits on the Poverty Bay Flats, which were now being renewed every five years instead of 30 years as in the past.

There could be issues around who had access to this “white gold”.

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