Kawerau remains open to plant
22 May 2015
PUMPING Matata’s wastewater to Kawerau is an option again now a consent to build a wastewater treatment plant at Matata has been overturned by the Environment Court, Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell says.
Following the Environment Court’s decision revoking Whakatane District Council’s resource consent for a treatment plant on Maori-owned land at Matata, Mr Campbell has re-issued his offer to treat effluent from Matata and also Edgecumbe, at Kawerau.
Kawerau District Council operations and services manager Tom McDowall said the Kawerau treatment system had the capacity to service waste from 15,000 people but collected waste from fewer than 7000.
He said the system was modular, which meant it could be added to easily to increase capacity when required.
Kawerau had previously formally offered to accept sewage from Matata and Edgecumbe and that offer remained in place, Mr McDowall said.
Mr Campbell said he would not lose sleep if Whakatane chose not to take up the offer, but the door would remain open as long as he was mayor.
“This is an area where we can collaborate. The door is always open to our neighbours,” he said.
“I think we have the ability to help Whakatane and if we can share the cost for ratepayers then everybody wins.”
He said moving wastewater to Kawerau was also a better option environmentally.
Since 2007 Kawerau was required to end effluent discharge into the Tarawera River.
However, partially treated waste continued to be discharged from Edgecumbe’s treatment plan into the Omeheu Canal, which connected to the Tarawera River.
Mr Campbell said by shifting waste to Kawerau this would end, which was a better option for the whole Eastern Bay and its waterways.
Whakatane District Council public affairs manager Ross Boreham said it was too early to begin considering other options.
He said pumping waste to Kawerau was previously evaluated alongside the new Matata treatment plant but it was ruled out due to high initial infrastructure cost and the ongoing price of pumping uphill.
The Whakatane council has spent $2.5 million so far on its now stalled Matata sewerage project.
Rangitaiki Community Board deputy chairman Graeme Bourke said pumping waste to Kawerau from Edgecumbe and Matata was the best option.
He said the cost was so great because large pipes were required to move waste from Edgecumbe.
During periods of high rainfall stormwater entered the town’s waste water system, which required the larger pipes and pumps to move the waste to Kawerau, Mr Bourke said. This created a greater infrastructure cost up front and operational costs long term.
The stormwater infiltration problem was a legacy of damage to concrete pipes during the Edgecumbe earthquake in 1987, he said.
Tom McDowall, Kawerau council operations and services manager
Source: Whakatane Beacon