Otago Daily Times

Al­liance wa­ter con­sent draws op­po­si­tion

MATAURA

- LAURA SMITH laura.smith@odt.co.nz Ecology · New Zealand Department of Conservation · Adam Smith

AL­LIANCE Group’s ap­pli­ca­tion to re­new a se­ries of con­sents, in­clud­ing its per­mit to re­lease treated waste­water from its Mataura pro­cess­ing plant into the Mataura River, has drawn some op­po­si­tion.

Al­liance Group last year ap­plied to re­new three En­vi­ron­ment South­land con­sents that ex­pired in De­cem­ber, al­low­ing it to take and use wa­ter for cool­ing and pro­cess­ing pur­poses, and to dis­charge cool­ing wa­ter and waste­water into river.

It also asked for a 35­year con­sent term for all re­place­ment con­sents and con­sent to use an ex­ist­ing weir for the damming and di­ver­sion of wa­ter for the same pe­riod.

The weir pro­vides the plant with about 25% of its elec­tric­ity needs, be­fore the wa­ter is re­turned to the river, a coun­cil staff re­port to the hear­ing panel states.

A hear­ing for the ap­pli­ca­tions is set down for three days in De­cem­ber.

The re­port de­tails 208 sub­mis­sions on the ap­pli­ca­tion, in­clud­ing four in op­po­si­tion.

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion (Doc), South­land Fish and Game, Hokonui Ru­nan­gaAukaha and Te Ru­nanga O Ngai Tahu op­pose the ap­pli­ca­tion.

The re­main­ing sub­mis­sions sup­port one from Adam Smith, which cites the so­cial and eco­nomic im­por­tance of the plant, as well as Al­liance’s plans to in­vest in treat­ment process up­grades to im­prove the qual­ity of the dis­charge to the river, and a re­duc­tion in wa­ter use.

How­ever, that did not sat­isfy Doc, which states in its sub­mis­sion the ap­pli­ca­tion fails to en­sure ad­verse af­fects are avoided, reme­died or mit­i­gated.

It sug­gests the 35­year con­sent pe­riod is too long.

The coun­cil’s re­port was com­piled by plan­ning con­sul­tant Ian May­hew, who notes, while there is sig­nif­i­cant sup­port for re­newal, the sub­mis­sions in op­po­si­tion fo­cus on ef­fects on wa­ter qual­ity and ecol­ogy, con­sent length, tim­ing of pro­posed im­prove­ments and cul­tural im­pli­ca­tions.

These fac­tors were taken into ac­count in the draft con­di­tions of con­sent, he says in the re­port.

He rec­om­mends is­su­ing the take and dis­charge per­mits, with con­di­tions, for a pe­riod of 10 years.

He also rec­om­mends no change to pre­sent weir damming and di­ver­sion con­sents.

An up­dated draft set of con­di­tions will be provided to the hear­ing, his re­port states.

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