New Consent for the Omaha Waste Water Treatment Plant

Omaha Treatment Plant 08x

Omaha Waste Water Treatment Plant operated by Watercare

After almost 2 years of consultation between Watercare and residents from the wider Whangateau Harbour community Watercare is now formulating a new Resource Consent for the Jones Road (Omaha) treatment plant.  Over this time the meetings have been chaired by Fiona McKenzie (Ngati Manuhiri) and the meetings have been regularly attended by members of the Whangateau HarbourCare Group and residents from Omaha Beach, Jones Road and Point Wells as well as a regular contingent of Watercare staff, advisers and researchers.  Conspicuously absent on all but two occasions have been representatives of Auckland Council!

Over the two years Watercare has funded a significant volume of research material which is available on their web site

Although some of the research is “desk top” much of it involved researchers getting down and dirty taking soil and water samples throughout the area affected by the treatment discharge.  As a consequence of this work we now have a much better idea of the geology and hydrology of the area – with some surprises. A flow of ground water from the Mangatawhiri Spit  dune site of effluent disposal to Omaha Bay and a drainage flow from the treatment site to the Omaha River were identified (previously unknown).  It has also been shown that there is no movement of ground water from the spit to or from Omaha Flats under the Waikokopu Arm.

For the Whangateau Harbourcare Group the most important issues have been dealt with satisfactorily:

  1. A detailed baseline is now available of all aspects of the treatment and discharge of effluent including emerging contaminants which can be used to compare future testing.
  2. Recognition by scientists that the capacity for discharge is limited and this has been accepted.
  3. A detailed continuance of monitoring of all aspects is accepted.
  4. Recognition that changes need to be made to the treatment of discharge areas has been accepted with plans to be developed.

At the latest meeting the basis for a new Resource Consent was considered for further input over the next 2 weeks.  It will then be completed and publicly notified before going to a Council Hearing.  The new Consent will be much more detailed and comprehensive than previously and importantly will reduce the allowable discharge from 390 thousand to 300 thousand m3 per year.  This will restrict development of Matakana until an alternative facility can be considered.  Full occupation of Omaha Beach will be provided for in this consent.

At the same time as this process is occurring Auckland Council has employed EcoMatters to investigate the state of septic tanks around the harbour.  It is hoped this will lead to some decisions being made by the Council to improve water quality by ensuring septic tanks do not cause pollution.

At the completion of the Watercare process it is proposed that the consultative group continue to look at other issues affecting the harbour.

Comments

  1. Resident of Jones Road….very disappointed…everything else in a rush..no alternative..

  2. I am just wondering have we exercise alternative options prior to the RC application approval and process…..In question such a slow flow current and discharging of these waste water never goes out to sea..it will come back to the shore….we currently have a very vibrant coast…believed me I live right in the middle of Jones road with sand beach right infront of my home…..what will you think if thats is you…..I use septic tanks and I bought my drinking water……I may be one person against it..for a good reason…you do need to satisfy residents for alternative options available…..being sorted…..a no discharged technology is available in Auckland but just not listerning and much cheaper and effective….rate payers need to dig more……

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