Septic tanks ‘sti­fle’ growth

New sys­tem needed for Clyde

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By JESSICA MAD­DOCK

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.

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