Jacki Brown: Concerns over Muri’s wastewater scheme

Saturday February 15, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai held a courtesy information evening at Turangi Meeting House for landholders and interested people. They presented options for “Centralised, reticulated wastewater scheme for Muri area”. This is prior to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

 

The two options presented are really only location of the outfall: whether off Turangi Cricket Playing Fields or further along on coastal side of (proposed) Turangi WWTP site.

It was stressed that it is proposal only stage.

People stated that they did not want waste put out to sea. Other options were raised such as land based filtration systems.

In January 2019, marine biologist, Dr Teina Rongo reviewed Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai wastewater proposal for Muri area.

Some of findings summarised are:

-          Changing coastal conditions depend on water and tides so would need a long term study to determine impact on coastal environment.

-          Onshore eddies may cycle wastewater back towards reef and effect salinity and nutrient levels.

-          ‘Fresh’ water kills coral.

-          Increased nutrient levels change ecosystem functions. Rarotonga naturally has a low nutrient system.

If it is at proposal stage only, some questions are:

-          Will consideration be given to alternatives to outfall system?

-          Noting for instance, there are wetlands systems around Auckland Airport What are public health risks of sea outfall?

-          Noting many people fish and gather seafood for home consumption and commercial purposes, what will be levels of treatment?

-          Noting tertiary is expensive, secondary means wastewater contains high levels of nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus. If outfall system is implemented, how far out will waste pipes drop the waste?

-          Noting Sydney Water had outfall just off east coast with tides bringing waste into Bondi Beach. Now there is 2.5km pipe expelling waste out to sea. What is cost?

There will be workshops starting in early March with technical presentations and question time.

This is an important issue that needs solutions, those that do not negatively impact our environment.

Getting it right needs discussion, debate, scientific research and recommendations that include a wide range of options, not just which location to place an outfall.

 

Jacki Brown

Turangi

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