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Work on the plans for a new sewerage scheme for Te Anau is continuing.
Council water and waste asset manager Ian Evans said Council is required to develop an acceptable long-term sewage treatment scheme for Te Anau under its current consent from Environment Southland. The current consent expires in 2014 and a significant amount of work with key stakeholders has already been undertaken in order to identify potential options for treatment and disposal.
"Lake Te Anau has significant cultural and environmental importance and any solution needs to take account of its Statutory Acknowledgement under the the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 as well as the Natural Water designation under Environment Southland's Regional Discharge Plan. This designation required any discharges to the river or lake to be of the highest quality," Mr Evans said.
At the moment the present Te Anau sewerage scheme discharges into the Upukerora River which then discharges into the lake. To treat the discharge to the quality needed for this pristine environment would be very expensive both to build and to run, he said. The design of the scheme also needs to take into account future growth within the Te Anau township.
Following previous investigations and discussions with key stakeholders a decision was made to discharge to land and after extensive searching and testing, land was bought in the Kepler Block near the Te Anau Airport - Manapouri.
Council held public meetings in late 2008 to explain what was happening and the reasons for it and since then engineers have focused on gathering the appropriate information to allow Council to lodge the required resource consents.
Mr Evans said a workshop was held with the new Te Anau Community Board recently to bring them up to speed with the project.
"The workshop proved to be very productive and helped the newer members of the board to gain a better understanding of the steps that have been taken to get to where we are today. The board highlighted some issues which Council staff and their consultants are currently working to address," Mr Evans said.
Board chair Alistair Jukes said he was happy with the progress so far but emphasised the public would be kept up-to-date with the buildup to lodging the consent application for the new treatment scheme next year. This will be the next significant milestone in the development of the scheme.
"We plan to ensure the Te Anau and Manapouri communities know what is going on at all stages of the project," Mr Jukes said.
Public meetings and information sheets are being planned for later in the year and a formal consultation will be part of the resource consent process.