Bird poop puts council on notice

2:22 pm on 29 November 2022
Masterton District Council's Homebush wastewater treatment ponds.

Masterton District Council has been served an abatement notice after a number of high E.coli readings from samples within its Homebush wastewater treatment ponds. Photo: LDR / Supplied

Bird poop is causing problems at Masterton District Council's (MDC) wastewater treatment plant.

The council was served an abatement notice by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) in August following a number of high E.coli readings from samples within the Homebush wastewater treatment ponds.

At a recent Audit and Risk Committee meeting, corporate planner Tania Madden explained the problem to elected members.

"Just to clarify, it was not wastewater discharge it was related to, but it was the level of E.coli in our ponds.

"Staff are looking into it and have upped the testing regimes and expanded testing to other sites, but believe it is in relation to waterfowl.

"There have been an increased number of birds at the ponds, so we're just working through that one at the moment."

In her report to council, Madden said Canadian geese and paradise ducks were believed to be the main culprits.

The GWRC abatement notice must be complied with by 1 January, 2023, and ongoing from then.

Madden said MDC was continuing to work in collaboration with GWRC on the issue.

South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) was also issued an abatement notice over the performance of the Martinborough Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This was revealed in a report updating the council's Assets and Services Committee on water infrastructure earlier this year.

"At the time of writing this report, we have not received the notice, but we understand that SWDC is being given until August 2023 to conform with consent conditions pertaining to discharge of effluent to land and some other conditions," the report to the committee said.

"GWRC have offered to work closely with council as we consider options to re-establish compliance."

Under the Resource Management Act (RMA), abatement notices can only be issued by a warranted enforcement officer.

Notices are issued when the enforcement officer believes on reasonable grounds that there is, or is likely to be, a contravention of the RMA or an adverse effect on the environment.

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