Wastewater options

The independent consultants reviewing alternatives to Te Anau’s proposed wastewater scheme have cautiously recommended two alternatives for further investigation.

Scientists from Pattle Delamore Partners returned to Te Anau yesterday to present their findings to the Te Anau Wastewater Discharge Project Committee.

The draft PDP report recognises some of the negative community growth and tourism implications of the consented Kepler Block scheme at Manapouri, but recommends alternative schemes primarily on a financial basis.

The selected alternatives are a pipeline and centre-pivot irrigation to a piece of land closer to Te Anau and owned by Phil Smith, and rapid infiltration to groundwater adjacent to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, requiring an upgrade of that facility.

Other options were not recommended to be considered further, such as discharge direct to the Upukerora River, on the basis that resource consents would be unlikely without significant and costly treatment upgrades, and that expenditure on those upgrades would offer no cost advantage over the Kepler Scheme.

“[Slow-rate irrigation] to the Smith Block is more cost effective than the Kepler Scheme due to the shorter length of the transfer pipeline required,” the report states.

“For both schemes the nitrogen load discharged to groundwater per hectare of wastewater irrigation area will be similar or less than a typical dairy farm.”

As well as calculating capital expenditure and operating expenditure, PDP provided a net-present value assessment for each option, estimating the whole-of-life costs over a 25-year period.

These numbers put the consented Kepler Block scheme at $15.9 million, the Smith Block scheme at $13.4 million, and rapid infiltration scheme at $12.3 million

But the report concludes that these “potential cost savings… over a 25 year period compared with the Kepler Scheme may not be worth pursuing further”.

Fiordland Sewerage Options (FSO) chairman Alistair Paton-McDonald said the report was made useless by the redaction of appendices detailing how PDP arrived at its costings for each option.

“We still believe that they are grossly over-pricing every one of those other options,” Mr Paton-McDonald said.

“Unless we can disprove the costs factor, the committee doesn’t have the ammo to dispute the financial recommendations of PDP,” he said. “The committee hasn’t got them; no one’s got them.”

PDP had ignored the systems put forward by FSO and its consultant Peter Riddell, and it was in PDP’s interests to discount alternatives that would not require subsequent consulting services, Mr Paton-McDonald said.

“The [costs] are definitely inflated, there’s no doubt about that, and they’re still failing to acknowledge the nightmare that is involved in running the system at Manapouri,” he said. “It’s going to be impossible.”

Meanwhile, the hold on three Kepler Scheme consent appeals before the Environment Court is due to expire tomorrow.

  • At the time of printing, the meeting of the committee and PDP had not yet been held.

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