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'Land purchase for wastewater treatment plant part of project to fix North Taranaki's water woes'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Old and private septic tanks seeping into waterways around Urenui and Onaero could be fixed sooner than expected after NPDC agreed to buy 41 hectares of land in the area to build a wastewater treatment plant. During the public roadshow on the 10-Year Plan (2021-2031), mana whenua and locals made it clear they wanted a long-term solution to the problem of wastewater seeping into the Urenui River.

At an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday, Councillors approved purchase of the two parcels inland from Onaero on Waiau Road, at a cost of $3.3 million for a treatment plant.

"This land came unexpectedly onto the market and it is rare to have something of this size available in the right location so we acted quickly," says NPDC 3 Waters Manager Mark Hall.

"The $31M Urenui / Onaero wastewater project is in the budget and it’s pleasing that after much hard work, we can begin this important piece of mahi to get rid of pollution in this important awa, a couple of years earlier than scheduled." A rāhui on swimming and gathering fish and shellfish has been in place on the Urenui River, from Okoki Pa to the river mouth, since November 2020.

NPDC has spent the last two years helping residents fix and maintain their septic tanks and working on wastewater issues at both the Onaero and Urenui campgrounds.

Rungana o Ngati Mutunga Chief Executive Mitchell Ritai says it’s great that a site’s been identified in an appropriate spot for this project.

"This allows the planning to get underway for reticulating Onaero and Urenui, which means we’ll be able to manage the current issues we’re experiencing with our awa," says Mitchell.

The next step is talking further with mana whenua, locals and direct neighbours as part of the consenting process, though it’s too early to say what the design features will include.

NPDC cleans an average of 25 million litres of wastewater each day and looks after more than 25,850 properties in the district, including 34 pump stations and 631km sewer network.

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