Septic tanks ‘stifle’ growth
New system needed for Clyde
A new wastewater system in Clyde is to be investigated as groundwater tests are detecting increasing levels of contamination. Clyde does not have a reticulated sewerage system and residents rely on septic tanks. Groundwater monitoring began in 2005. Central Otago District Council development engineer Peter Morton told the Vincent Community Board last week increased levels of nitratenitrogen had been detected in monitoring bores, indicating potential groundwater contamination. While the level of contamination – which could be caused by human sewage and agricultural activities – was within the limits allowed by the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards guide, there was concern the limit could be reached where groundwater flows, and therefore dilution, was low. Board member Tim Cadogan said he expected septic tanks would be prohibited in towns over a certain size ‘‘sooner or later’’ and supported funding investigations into a new system for Clyde. The rest of the board agreed, with Martin McPherson saying it would be cheaper to fix the problem now, rather than in 20 years. ‘‘We need to bite the bullet and look at a reticulated sewerage system for Clyde.’’ Mr Morton told the community board continuing to rely on septic tanks was likely to stifle growth. Further development would result in higher groundwater contamination levels and, while there were no known drinking water bores in Clyde at present, this source of potable water would not be an option while the groundwater was contaminated. Board chairperson Clair Higginson was concerned the lack of a reticulated sewerage system was restricting business development. The council’s water services manager, Russell Bond, said the Dunstan Hotel was struggling to ‘‘find a solution’’ which met Otago Regional Council requirements. Well-known business Olivers had found a way forward ‘‘but some of the solutions are quite costly for those businesses.’’ While there was funding for ongoing groundwater monitoring in the council’s long-term plan, no money had been earmarked for more detailed investigations into the problem, or capital works to resolve it. The community board accepted Mr Morton’s recommendation that funding be approved for the work to be carried out in 2015.