And the issue will be poop.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Regional Council’s Environment Committee, some Councillors (chiefly Kevin Rose and Neil Kirton) stumbled over a policy-making schedule they thought would unacceptably delay coming to terms with recurring sewage problems in Jervoistown and Meeanee.

In those areas, septic tanks are the chief means of dealing with residential sewage. Unfortunately, soil conditions and a high water table mean that these systems routinely overflow in heavy rains, pouring sewage onto the streets and into the stormwater system. It seems that this third-world situation is everybody’s dirty little secret … HBRC Chair Alan Dick commented that “everyone’s known we have this problem for fifty years.” And heads nodded around the table when Councillor Rose said the obvious need was for a reticulated system to service the area.

Unfortunately, the rule-making process is such that the HBRC staff is projecting another 3-4 years of “process” (i.e., plan changes) before the problem can be addressed. Even more unfortunately, Councillors couldn’t seem to find a way around the morass, and those wanting action versus planning were left unsatisfied.

Where does the Napier Council stand on this foul issue?

Well, they’ve been happily granting building consents in the area all along. I guess they figured if they (and residents) just held their collective nose, the problem would go away.

Here’s what the documentation for Napier’s recent LTCCP review (Appendix B, p183) says on the matter, speaking of Jervoistown, Meeanee Township and The Loop:

“The area is low-lying with heavy soils that do not allow effective disposal of septic tank effluent … There is potential for a health risk to occur in these communities where septic tanks perform poorly and/or lot size is inadequate for effluent disposal … As a whole, the cumulative risk to public health in these areas is higher than elsewhere. There is potential for contamination of the stormwater drains in the Jervoistown area.”

So what does Napier propose to do about the situation in its Third World colonies? Nothing.

As the document continues: “At present, there is no economically justifiable proposal for a reticulated wastewater scheme in Jervoistown.” The same conclusion is drawn for Meeanee Township and The Loop.

In other words … let them swim in their s**t!

Perhaps the Napier Council should take a bus tour of Jervoistown during a major rain event. But be sure to bring your gumboots Councillors … and you might want to wear rubber gloves in case you touch anything.

Tom Belford

P.S. And where’s the DHB’s public health squad on this? Asleep, as usual … ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

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  1. It is my understanding that there are a number of innovative ways available for households to avoid septic tanks or reticulation. Shouldn't we look outside the conventional square on this one and find ways to bring these technolgies to bear not just to new developments in the areas concerned but in retrofitting the old?

  2. When it comes to the lack of “essential” inground services. In allowing the likes of the leaching and the overflowing of “raw human” effluent ! Trendy Art Deco Barbaraville & Co must rate along, with that, of prescribing to Third World standards.
    Absolutely disgraceful-particulary when one considers how much Napier City Council “forced” its ratepayes to fork out on the Non essential “ever” costing NINE million dollar PLUS fish-tank. Not to mention the, un-disclosed’ huge amounts (settled with lawyers!!) in compo payments to the poor buggers stuck with, Council ticked off “leaky” homes ?

    Agreed, I believe the supposed DHB’s’ guardians of our citizens well-being must be either asleep – or as thick as the perverbial tutae!

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