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Abatement notice issued

Eketāhuna Wastewater Treatment Site owner Tararua District Council [TDC] has issued two abatement notices this month for earthworks construction that started in January 2023 for a wetlands project on the eastern bank of the Mākākahi River.

The notices were issued after TDC failed to meet several of the conditions of a resource consent issued by the Environment Court in July 2021, which was to allow for the discharge of treated water into the Mākākahi River but required that the wetlands be constructed to add another layer of water treatment.

The abatement notices were officially delivered by Horizons Regional Council [HRC] on March 5 after an HRC inspection late last year identified that breaches had taken place.

“The district council did not notify HRC five days before starting the work,” HRC regulatory manager Greg Bevan said in a statement.

“They did not do a pre-construction site meeting with various required parties and did not provide HRC with a design and specifications for some of the earthworks.

“They did not submit an erosion and sediment control plan 20 working days before starting work.

“And they also started work without a certified erosion and sediment control plan.”

The first abatement notice instructed TDC to cease all unauthorised large-scale land disturbance, including earthworks and the associated discharge of a contaminant, mainly sediment.

The second notice is to facilitate ecological and cultural health monitoring of the Mākākahi River, in the vicinity of the wastewater treatment site.

In a statement, TDC chief executive Bryan Nicholson said that conditions were not met because of a “management oversight, which council acknowledges and takes responsibility for.”

“Council recognises the importance of adhering to consent conditions and regrets the unintended lapse in communication that resulted in both consent conditions not being met as required.

“We are working together with colleagues at Horizons Regional Council and both iwi partners to address the concerns raised by this abatement notice, and to ensure that the necessary measures are implemented to bring the project back into compliance.”

He also noted that TDC operates under a framework of 63 consents with over 4000 consent conditions.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories and covering emergencies and crime.

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