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Should Makaraka connect to the city's wastewater system?

3 Feb 2012

Should Makaraka connect to the city's wastewater system?

Makaraka residents are being asked to attend a public meeting next week about whether their township should be reticulated.  A petition received last year called for reticulation of Makaraka to be included in Council’s 2012-2022 Ten Year Plan.  An accompanying letter by Makaraka resident Nigel Hope felt that high rainfall in the area was causing unsanitary conditions with toilets that won’t flush and wastewater that won’t drain away.

Council staff have since investigated options to connect Makaraka to the city’s wastewater system. An outline of these options has been sent to all Makaraka residents along with the associated costs. We will be presenting 4 options at the meeting in the Makaraka School Hall on Wednesday 8 February starting at 5.30pm, says engineering works group manager Peter Higgs.

“All of the options come with significant costs; even keeping the status quo. If someone’s septic tanks needs to be replaced it will cost anywhere between $9,000 and $30,000 depending on the system chosen, size of the section etc. Proposed changes to Council’s Discharges Plan would require more monitoring and cleaning out of the tank at least every five years which is also a cost for property owners.”

Council’s preferred option is to supply each property with small pump station with a grinder pump in it that feeds into the Council’s network of pipes. Estimated costs for this are about $28,000 per property. Other options, including a conventional gravity system used in the city, are estimated to cost up to $41,000 per property.

“There is no cheap way to do this,” says Mr Higgs. ‘Reticulated systems are better for the environment and public health but if there is no support from residents the project will not be progressed. If there is support to go ahead the project will be included in the draft 2012-2022 Ten Year Plan and consulted on in March throughout the district. Councillors will then make decision whether it stays in or not.”

Council has decided at a meeting in December that all projects like this need to be funded by those who benefit from the work, says Major Meng Foon. “We deemed that it wasn’t fair for all ratepayers to have to contribute to something like this. City residents have contributed the most to the new wastewater treatment plant and will continue to pay for it through the wastewater part of their rates bill. Rural residents don’t have any reticulated wastewater system; they have to maintain there own so why should they pay. This of course doesn’t make it easy for the people of Makaraka. If they do support reticulation going ahead Council will work out payment options for them over 10 or 20 years.”

Reticulation of Makaraka to the city’s wastewater system was included in the Council’s draft 2009-2019 Ten Year Plan. After consultation in March 2009 it was removed from the final plan. It was considered there was a lack of community support for the proposal.