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Published: 2003-05-30 00:00:00

Environment Waikato and Hauraki District Council’s independent Commissioner have approved resource consents and a change to an existing designation for an upgrade of the Turua Sewage Treatment Plant.

Hauraki District Council had applied to alter an existing designation, to upgrade the treatment process, and to expand the plant. One submission was received from Ngati Maru Runanga.

The plant has operated since 1983 and the District Council intends to upgrade it to improve the quality of the treated effluent being discharged into the Waihou River. It intends to use a maturation pond and three rock filters to reduce the number of faecal coliforms discharged.

The submitter reached an understanding with the District Council before the hearing.
Environment Waikato resource officer Sheryl Roa said the proposal met Environment Waikato’s policy of net improvement of water quality and the physical effects of the discharge were likely to be below discernible levels after reasonable mixing.

A term of 15 years was proposed to provide a substantial period for the consents, recognising that the impact on the river was largely offset by the large dilution.

The Committee said the applicant had shown it was endeavouring to improve the standard of the discharge from the plant. While the current discharge was not having any real impact on the river the applicant was responding to the aims of the Regional Policy Statement to improve net water quality. It had shown genuine responsibility and intent for continuous improvement.

It was confident that seepage was unlikely to occur from the maturation pond, and provision was made for regular reviews to address any unforeseen effects.