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South Wairarapa wastewater plant compliance still an issue

Martinborough’s wastewater treatment plant remains non-compliant with resource consent conditions, a Wellington Water [WW] report reveals.

However, progress has been made on South Wairarapa’s other wastewater treatment plants, with Featherston and Greytown now up to compliance standards since May last year, and Lake Ferry remaining compliant.

In WW’s report to the WW committee, which met on Friday, it was stated that Greater Wellington Regional Council has issued two abatement notices to WW and South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] for the Martinborough plant over the past year.

Under the Resource Management Act [RMA], abatement notices are issued when an enforcement officer believes on reasonable grounds that there is – or is likely to be – a contravention of the RMA or an adverse effect on the environment.

“Significant investment from the council is required to bring the plant back into compliance,” the WW report said.

“The South Wairarapa District Council’s three other wastewater treatment plants are currently compliant, however, they are all at significant risk of non-compliance moving forward.

“Significant capital investment, as well as operational investment in standard maintenance activities such as dislodging the ponds, needs to be committed by the council in order to ensure that we achieve the compliance and do not significantly adversely affect the environment.”

WW said it would continue to monitor the situation and provide risk analysis and investment advice to SWDC, although “our ability to focus on any improvements in South Wairarapa in the coming 12 months is significantly constrained by investment levels”.

“We expect the plants to remain non-compliant until sufficient investment is committed.”

In May last year, Featherston and Greytown plants were non-compliant, but this latest report shows they are now compliant.

A SWDC spokesperson said the change from non-compliance to compliance was “basically down to sampling and monitoring, which has been increased”.

“After Wellington Water took over as council’s water services provider, wastewater sampling and monitoring were reviewed.

“Recent improvements to the monitoring regime and other adjustments such as improved reliability of the irrigation to land system at Greytown have ensured we are meeting our resource consent conditions at Featherston, Greytown, and Lake Ferry.”

WW said it was developing a staged programme of work to provide long-term resource consent compliance for both the Martinborough and Greytown wastewater treatment plants.

Featherston consenting work continues, WW said. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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