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City seeks extension to sort plant problems

Hamilton City Council has asked Environment Waikato for a 12 month extension to allow it to comply with resource consents for its new $28 million wastewater treatment plant.

A two-stage consent was issued by the Regional Council in September 1998 to allow Hamilton City to commission the plant and discharge treated wastewater from the new plant to the Waikato River. The consents come into effect at the end of this month.

A number of odour complaints have been received by Environment Waikato from residents upset about the smell.

Hamilton City Council confirmed that hardware faults have slowed down commissioning of the new plant by a year. As such, the Council believes it is in danger of breaching the resource consent limits imposed by Environment Waikato.

At Environment Waikato's Regulatory Committee meeting today, Hamilton City Council Water, Drainage and Refuse Manager, Leroy Leach, confirmed the plant was running behind. The Council had tried to keep the community well informed of the issues at the plant and had tried to manage the odours which had caused complaints, he said.

Group Manager Resource Use, Harry Wilson, said in terms of complying with consents, Hamilton City Council was one of the Region's "best performers”. "It's clear that enormous efforts are being made by the City to sort this out as quickly as it can."

The Committee has confirmed it would not initiate enforcement action for any breach of consent condition as long as Environment Waikato was kept fully informed of issues at the plant.

Regulatory Committee Chair, Jim Howland, said the Regional Council was prepared to work with parties on issues like this if the Council was kept well-informed of issues.

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