Support is mounting for the Waikato Regional Council to apply a regional rate to fund construction and maintenance of stock truck effluent disposal sites.
The option, which would see all ratepayers in the region funding the construction and maintenance of disposal facilities, won support from the Regional Transport Committee on Monday. The regional council will consider the committee’s recommendation during its meeting later this month.
There is just one in-transit effluent dumping site in the Waikato, on SH5 at Tapapa, with another three at sale yards in Taupo, Matamata and Tuakau.
A further five high-priority locations for in-transit disposal facilities have been identified in a regional stock truck effluent strategy – two near Te Kuiti, with one each at Putaruru, Taupo and Ngaruawahia.
Effluent is spilled onto the road from stock trucks when the holding tanks are deliberately discharged or accidentally overflow. These sorts of discharges can cause traffic crashes if they make roads slippery or spatter on to windscreens.
Discharge is also a health hazard for cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians, and causes smelly and unsightly pollution on highways and road sides. Uncontrolled discharges of effluent can also cause environmental problems if the effluent enters waterways.
Regional Transport Committee acting chairperson Paula Southgate said: “On stock truck effluent all agree that something has got to happen.
“This is not a simple issue and there has been significant work involving a number of stakeholders to find a solution for the safety of road users and to protect the environment,” Cr Southgate said.
The committee considered three funding options:
- construction and maintenance costs recovered via a regional rate levied by Waikato Regional Council
- construction and maintenance costs shared equally by all territorial authorities in the region
- construction and maintenance costs proportionately distributed among all the region’s territorial authorities based on population and road length.
The options were also presented in the regional council’s 2011/12 Draft Annual Plan, with the 13 submissions received generally favouring a regional rate.
Waikato Regional Council staff will now work to develop regional rating options for consideration during the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan. The public will then have an opportunity to provide submissions to the council on any proposal to use regional rating for stock truck effluent disposal facilities.
Find out more about the Regional Stock Truck Effluent Strategy, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of the various parties involved with stock truck effluent: http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Council/Policy-and-plans/Waste-management/Stock-truck-effluent-strategy/