With dead fish floating in the Tukituki recently, BayBuzz checked on the status of the much-heralded plan to build a system that would dispose of CHB’s treated effluent on land instead of into the river.
Inexcusably, it seems that the CHB District Council fell asleep on the consent paperwork, requiring the HB Regional Council to step in and “project manage” the process. BayBuzz understands that the resource consent application will now be filed by the end of April.
The Regional Council is still hoping to plant trees this winter on the pasture blocks they are purchasing near the CHB settlement ponds. Once the system is operational, effluent from these ponds would be used to fertilize the trees. The Regional Council must purchase more land for the scheme than originally expected, since they now realize that high volumes of stormwater infiltrate the CHB sewer system during the winter, which has caused the settlement ponds to overflow into the river in the past. More volume requires more land.
Assuming the Regional Council doesn’t embarrass itself by rejecting the resource consent application it has largely orchestrated for CHB, it will still be up to CHB to actually commit the funds (which are in its long term plan) to get the new infrastructure constructed.
The way things are going, the on-land effluent scheme appears unlikely to be operational before the deadline already stipulated by CHB’s current consent from the Regional Council (i.e., 2014). In other words, little or no appreciable step-up in the clean-up schedule.
P.S. In case anyone is still uncertain, at last check Tim Gilbertson is still a Regional Councillor. I don’t know how rumours to the contrary got started!