Waikato Times

Residents fight smell, risk of effluent site

King Country residents opposing a stock effluent site say the proposal is dangerous. Stephani Rangi reports. ‘‘When a truck leaks effluent on the highway, it can create a slimy discharge for several kilometres. The effluent then makes the road slippery, w

- David McGonigal, New Zealand Transport Agency regional manager stephani.rangi@fairfaxmed­ia.co.nz

King Country residents near the site of a proposed stock effluent dumping site say while the smell will be bad enough it’s the prospect of accidents that really has them worried.

Despite opposition from residents at Manunui, just east of Taumarunui, a controvers­ial stock effluent facility close to the State Highways 4 and 41 intersecti­on is likely to go ahead.

The green light for the facility was given in June with the aim of preventing effluent leaking from stock trucks onto roads.

New Zealand Transport Agency regional manager, David McGonigal said the facility will support local industry, improve road safety and help to protect the environmen­t by getting stock effluent off the roads and in the sewerage system where it belongs.

‘‘When a truck leaks effluent on the highway, it can create a slimy discharge for several kilometres,’’ he said.

‘‘The effluent then makes the road slippery, which is a potential safety hazard for drivers, bikers and cyclists.’’

However, the decision did not sit well with some residents in Manunui who collected 429 signatures on a petition opposed to the facility.

Morry O’Reilly will have a clear view of the effluent facility from his BBQ area. While the smell and noise are a turn-off O’Reilly also claims the intersecti­on where the facility will be located is completely unsafe.

‘‘I’ve attended three fatalities in my time here,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s just looking for trouble.’’

At a council committee meeting last week chairperso­n Graeme Cosford said the area is absolutely treacherou­s.

Councillor Karen Ngatai said while she may have approved of the site initially she did not believe the safety aspect had been properly considered.

Ron Cooke suggested an area 100 metres south of the proposed site might be a better option.

One of O’Reilly’s major concerns with road safety is the dip in the bridge on state highway 41.

‘‘A truck will be seen clearly by the car,’’ he said. ‘‘But the car won’t be seen by the truck.’’

McGonigal said these concerns have been addressed.

‘‘A huge amount of engineerin­g work has gone into ensuring the facility is safe and provides good visibility to motorists. Our proposals have also been through a specialist safety audit to ensure it is safe,’’ McGonigal said. ‘‘We have listened to Mr O’Reilly’s concerns about safety, and we are satisfied that all safety issues have been appropriat­ely considered.’’

O’Reilly said he and other Manunui residents would fight the effluent facility, while the constructi­on is waiting on the completion of a Trade Waste Agreement with Ruapehu District Council.

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