Rais­ing a stink over sep­tic tanks

Kaikoura Star - - FRONT PAGE - TED HOWARD

Sep­tic tanks. They’re not some­thing we nec­es­sar­ily think se­ri­ously about, but they’re some­thing all of us in Kaiko¯ura need to give some at­ten­tion to fol­low­ing the 2016 earth­quake.

At our zone com­mit­tee meet­ing in May, Rachel Poulsen from En­vi­ron­ment Can­ter­bury spoke to us about the work she is do­ing to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of dam­age done to sep­tic tanks around the dis­trict.

ECan is re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that the ground­wa­ter and sur­face wa­ter is not be­ing com­pro­mised by dam­aged waste­water sys­tems.

Dam­aged sys­tems could mean con­tam­i­nated waste­water gets into our ground­wa­ter and could pose a threat to our health and the health of our en­vi­ron­ment and an­i­mals.

Con­tact­ing those with sep­tic tanks is no easy task with about 605 prop­er­ties iden­ti­fied as hav­ing sep­tic tanks not con­nected to the Kaik­oura Dis­trict Coun­cil sew­er­age network.

At the time of her pre­sen­ta­tion, Rachel had tried to con­tact 382 prop­erty own­ers in some form but only 222 had re­sponded.

Of those sep­tic tanks as­sessed, 25 sys­tems were dam­aged and were still be­ing used, 13 were dam­aged but not be­ing used, 71 were not dam­aged but self-checked and 113 had been checked by a con­trac­tor and not dam­aged.


We heard it was im­por­tant for landown­ers to get their sep­tic tanks checked by a con­trac­tor to en­sure there is no se­ri­ous dam­age be­low the sur­face.

Of course, this comes at a cost and many peo­ple have been un­der­stand­ably some­what re­luc­tant to do so.

As a zone com­mit­tee, we dis- cussed how we could sup­port peo­ple to get their sep­tic tanks checked.

It aligns with our pri­or­i­ties around wa­ter qual­ity, mahinga kai and earth­quake re­cov­ery.

It is a topic that we will pur­sue in search of work­able fair out­comes over the next few meet­ings.

The back of a Beach Rd prop­erty where the town’s sewer line ran.

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