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‘Potential delay’ for wastewater hearing

Hodder Farm, which is the proposed site for irrigation of Featherston’s wastewater. PHOTO/FILE

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Further delays are likely to the contentious application by South Wairarapa District Council to irrigate Featherston’s wastewater.

SWDC has an ongoing resource application to Greater Wellington Regional Council for a move to discharging the town’s UV-treated wastewater to land rather than waterways.

The council is applying for a long-term, 35-year consent for the discharge of treated wastewater to land and water, with the proposal aiming to reduce the discharge to waterways.

Similar schemes are in place in Martinborough and Greytown.

A November 1 date was set for a hearing panel to consider the application but that looks likely to be pushed back, the latest in a series of delays in the process.

SWDC said it was responding to feedback collected in July’s community engagement sessions, where “a key theme” of submissions was for wastewater to be “treated to a standard higher than was proposed in the council’s consent application”.

“There is a strong message coming through that the community wants our moana cleaned up and for the wastewater to have minimal effects on the environment,” SWDC chief executive Harry Wilson said.

“While we acknowledge the potential delay of the hearing may be frustrating to some submitters, completing this additional work now rather than later could fast track us to cleaning up our waterways and potentially beating our current targets.”

A leaflet campaign attracted dozens of concerned residents to a meeting earlier this month.

Featherston Community Board member Claire Bleakley was part of the wastewater action team behind the public meeting.

She said she was “cautiously optimistic” about the proposals.

“We’re really pleased with the fact that the council has finally heard the concerns of submitters and residents close to the potential area, about the purity of water,” she said.

“We’re quietly confident they could implement a very good system which would be the best in the country.

“With a new council coming, we hope they will be able to address the issue in full, and we can use our clean waterways and clean environment to showcase Featherston to the country.”

The council said it was working with GWRC “to identify when a hearing date may be scheduled” as “both councils agree that potential overall benefits may be achieved by deferring the hearing beyond the current completion date”.


  1. Everywhere else in civilised countries they put treated wastewater onto farmland and orchards because of the risk it would pose to aquatic environments and marine life. Because of the amount of drugs and medications discharged daily into sewage, and not being affected by treatment, it has been scientifically proven that trees and other vegetative growth can absorb this through the root system and not have any ill effect on the plant itself, or the fruit it produces.

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