Rivers’ contamination should be top priority

LETTER

Contamination from wastewater discharges into our rivers after heavy rainfall events has been increasing each year, aggravated as we know by world climate change.

Yet this pressing issue is obviously in the council’s “too hard” basket. The estimated cost of solutions to private property water infiltration is $13.2 million of a total $27m budgeted for work to limit the need for river discharges.

Relevant data sourced a decade ago is now considered out of date, and will need to be repeated — a costly and unnecessary duplication of ratepayers’ money.

Polluted beaches are not a good look for cruise ship visitors, nor the annual beaches-loving holidaymakers — negating the money going into tourist promotion efforts.

So, why is the current council’s priority, and where ratepayers’ money is being channelled, towards wastewater improvements connected with the outfall pipeline, rather than the source point of illegal connections on private properties that lead to river release and pollution?

Gordon Webb’s informed and well-balanced comments are most timely for a public who are baffled by legalities and feel bullied by the complexities of the Resource Management Act.

Mr Webb’s views, based on professional knowledge, should be taken seriously.

I hope when voting on the wastewater options on December 7, councillors will see the logic of living with the status quo for the outfall discharge — from a common sense as well as an economic point of view.

Some serious progress must be made in eliminating stormwater infiltration into the wastewater system, and the consequent river contamination.

Perhaps councillors could transfer the budgeted estimate of the wastewater pipeline improvements to tackling the real issue, at source, of river contamination.

Put the horse before the cart.

Margaret Thorpe

Contamination from wastewater discharges into our rivers after heavy rainfall events has been increasing each year, aggravated as we know by world climate change.

Yet this pressing issue is obviously in the council’s “too hard” basket. The estimated cost of solutions to private property water infiltration is $13.2 million of a total $27m budgeted for work to limit the need for river discharges.

Relevant data sourced a decade ago is now considered out of date, and will need to be repeated — a costly and unnecessary duplication of ratepayers’ money.

Polluted beaches are not a good look for cruise ship visitors, nor the annual beaches-loving holidaymakers — negating the money going into tourist promotion efforts.

So, why is the current council’s priority, and where ratepayers’ money is being channelled, towards wastewater improvements connected with the outfall pipeline, rather than the source point of illegal connections on private properties that lead to river release and pollution?

Gordon Webb’s informed and well-balanced comments are most timely for a public who are baffled by legalities and feel bullied by the complexities of the Resource Management Act.

Mr Webb’s views, based on professional knowledge, should be taken seriously.

I hope when voting on the wastewater options on December 7, councillors will see the logic of living with the status quo for the outfall discharge — from a common sense as well as an economic point of view.

Some serious progress must be made in eliminating stormwater infiltration into the wastewater system, and the consequent river contamination.

Perhaps councillors could transfer the budgeted estimate of the wastewater pipeline improvements to tackling the real issue, at source, of river contamination.

Put the horse before the cart.

Margaret Thorpe

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