Otago Daily Times

Fore­court runoff change chal­lenged

- EMMA PERRY emma.perry@odt.co.nz Ecology · Dunedin · British Petroleum · Otago Region · Chilean Ministry of Health · Julie Anne Genter

THREE ma­jor oil com­pa­nies have joined forces to op­pose a new by­law for the man­age­ment of waste­water runoff in Dunedin.

The Dunedin City Coun­cil is re­view­ing its trade waste by­law.

Trade waste is any liq­uid waste, apart from usual kitchen and bath­room waste, pro­duced by a busi­ness and sent through the sew­er­age sys­tem.

One of the pro­posed changes to the by­law would mean ap­proval would be needed from the coun­cil be­fore con­tam­i­nants could be dis­charged into the stormwa­ter sys­tem.

Four sub­mis­sions were re­ceived on the pro­posed by­law, three in sup­port and one against which was signed by three com­pa­nies.

Z Energy, Mo­bil and BP said the pro­posed by­law would not pro­vide ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient man­age­ment of stormwa­ter and trade waste net­works, and would not meet the cur­rent and fu­ture needs of the com­mu­nity.

Ac­tiv­i­ties of in­ter­est cov­ered by the by­law in­cluded ser­vice sta­tion fore­court man­age­ment, car wash­ing and con­struc­tion site runoff.

The com­pa­nies said there were no grounds to re­quire dis­charges to be de­fined as trade waste and redi­rected to waste­water.

They were con­cerned the stormwa­ter pro­vi­sions were too strin­gent and harsher than those set by the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil.

The sub­mis­sion said the ap­proach the coun­cil had pro­posed was out of step with na­tional good prac­tice, par­tic­u­larly be­cause it re­quired runoff from fore­courts to be dis­charged to the waste­water sys­tem as trade waste.

Con­cerns were ex­pressed about a need to dis­charge those flows to the waste­water sys­tem, ef­fects on the waste­water sys­tem ca­pac­ity, the trade waste con­sent process and the po­ten­tial costs of waste dis­posal.

As a re­sult of the sub­mis­sions, coun­cil pol­icy an­a­lyst Jacinda Baker pro­posed amend­ments to the by­law which the reg­u­la­tory sub­com­mit­tee would con­sider.

The first clause of the by­law was amended to say ‘‘no per­son may, with­out the prior ap­proval of the coun­cil, dis­charge, di­rectly or in­di­rectly, a con­tam­i­nant to the stormwa­ter sys­tem that is likely (in­di­vid­u­ally or cu­mu­la­tively) to cause nui­sance, or ad­versely af­fect the en­vi­ron­ment or op­er­a­tion of the stormwa­ter sys­tem. The coun­cil may spec­ify con­di­tions with any ap­proval given’’.

Ms Baker said the amend­ments ad­dressed the oil com­pa­nies’ con­cern but did not change the coun­cil’s po­si­tion ‘‘that con­tam­i­nated runoff from high­risk ac­tiv­i­ties such as ser­vice sta­tion fore­courts should not be dis­charged into the stormwa­ter sys­tem’’.

The coun­cil would not be mon­i­tor­ing the vol­ume of dis­charge from a fore­court and would not charge for it on that ba­sis, she said.

The an­nual trade waste con­sent fee is $178.

The South­ern District Health Board, As­so­ciate Min­is­ter of Health Julie Anne Gen­ter and lo­cal iwi sup­ported the ma­jor­ity of pro­posed changes.

The coun­cil is also re­view­ing its stormwa­ter qual­ity by­law, and on Thurs­day the reg­u­la­tory sub­com­mit­tee will con­sider sub­mis­sions made.

It will come up with a rec­om­men­da­tion on the by­laws to present to the full coun­cil.

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