Fears in­fra­struc­ture won’t cope

North Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - AMY BAKER

In­ad­e­quate sew­er­age in­fra­struc­ture means it’s not un­usual for When­u­a­pai res­i­dents to catch a whiff of the is­sue in the street.

Now some fear that a pro­vi­sion that al­lows for sub­di­vi­sion will put even more pres­sure on sep­tic sys­tems, which are not likely to be up­graded to mains for at least another decade.

Un­der the Auck­land Uni­tary Plan, the When­u­a­pai Vil­lage area is zoned as a Res­i­den­tial - Sin­gleHouse Zone, mean­ing prop­erty own­ers can di­vide sec­tions that are less than a hectare down to 600 square me­tres as a re­stricted dis­cre­tionary ac­tiv­ity.

How­ever, the retic­u­lated sew­er­age sys­tem planned for the area un­der the When­u­a­pai Struc­ture Plan is not sched­uled for de­vel­op­ment un­til 2028-2032.

When­u­a­pai Vil­lage Ratepay­ers and Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Kirke Camp­bell said al­though the zoning may work well for some ar­eas, it didn’t for When­u­a­pai, which still re­lies on sep­tic sys­tems for waste­water treat­ment.

The po­ten­tial in­crease of sewage pro­duc­tion and smaller sec­tion sizes, along­side ex­ist­ing is­sues of run-off and poor ground ab­sorp­tion, were cause for con­cern, he said.

When­u­a­pai’s soil had lit­tle ca­pac­ity to treat much due to it be­ing clay with min­i­mal top soil, lead­ing to un­ab­sorbed bac­te­ria, ni­trates and meth­ane gas, he said.

Re­gard­less of the sep­tic sys­tem, Camp­bell said prob­lems were very com­mon, and newer sys­tems were also fail­ure-prone.

So far two sub­di­vi­sions have been ap­proved in the vil­lage.

Mcil­roy said there was no means of stop­ping peo­ple from sub­di­vid­ing their prop­er­ties, other than chang­ing the uni­tary plan to pro­hibit it, but coun­cil will not be re­quest­ing a plan change.

One of the con­sid­er­a­tions made in as­sess­ing dis­charge con­sents for on­site waste­water sys­tems is that a retic­u­lated waste­water net­work will even­tu­ally reach the vil­lage as the sur­round­ing land is de­vel­oped, he said. Due to the size of ex­ist­ing house sites, the soil types and age of the homes’ waste­water sys­tems - with many be­ing pre-2004 - the risk of leak­age into the en­vi­ron­ment would be ex­pected, he said.

Mcil­roy said the area’s wa­ter qual­ity could be ex­pected to im­prove once house­holds were con­nected to a retic­u­lated sys­tem.

Auck­land Coun­cil staff will meet with res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion in late Fe­bru­ary.

AMY BAKER/STUFF

When­u­a­pai still has open drains and sep­tic tanks, and is not ex­pect­ing waste­water mains un­til 2028.

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