Help stop wastewater overflows polluting our swimming areas and natural habitat
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Council must have zero wastewater overflows entering our streams and harbour which are polluting our swimming areas and natural habitat.
1. Seperate and upgrade the wastewater/stormwater system in this catchment area before any more development is approved.
2. Until the infrastructure upgrade is completed restrict all consents which want to exceed the development density of the unitary plan (current density is 3 units per site) which it currently allows as of right.
This is the easiest way to give the council time to fix the problem and allow development to continue.
Behind the railway lines in a very difficult place to access we discovered wastewater overflows into our Pourewa Stream in Auckland. The stream feeds into the tidal estuary, the Auckland harbour and the Orakei basin. Little did we know that it had been going on for many years, The waterway is the habitat to many fish species and the protected long finned eel. Our independent lab water tests have shown that e-coli levels have exceeded up to 100 times the safe swimming level.
We are not aware of any signs have ever been erected to warn the public.
How can council continue to have the right to do this to our own backyard and at the same time we continue to blame the farmers nationally for polluting the river ways.
The wastewater and storm water system was installed by HNZ in the 1940's for stand alone homes. It was designed so that storm water would flush out the wastewater when it rains and then into the stream. Watercare tell us these wet overflows occur about 30 times a year,a figure which could be much more , we don't really know. Unfortunately for a number of reasons we have also had dry overflows (when it is not raining). Our water tests have shown very high counts of e-coli and enterococci in the Pourewa stream. The Mayor at the time of the Super City merge which was several years ago, has advised us the SW/WW was never separated in this catchment area. They did not envisage that the zoning would lift so dramatically negating their attempt to keep the zoning density to a sustainable level and not exceed the capacity of the old system.
Many of the pipes are now broken and soaking wastewater into the ground and roots are blocking pipes. Watercare are trying hard to manage a system which is broken.
The council are politically motivated to show they can issue consent for homes at breakneck speed and are ignoring the fact that in this catchment area (230 homes) you cant just intensify 5 times over the original density and not upgrade the infrastructure first.
The council should not allow development above what the unitary plans allows where there is poor and old infrastructure and associated environmental risk anywhere in Auckland.
The Auckland City council planning department is where changes need to be made. Council planners, commissioners and regulatory should recognise that the consent decisions have major impact and associated environmental risks in these combined catchment areas across Auckland. Its not acceptable for council planners and commissioners to say we are aware of the possibility of environmental risk and do nothing because the Unitary plan does not allow us too. Its a huge cop out and a lack of social responsibility from some of our civic leaders. There should be zero wastewater going into the stream to the basin and into the harbour.
This is a brown fields development (old suburb) not greenfield's (new suburb) which have already separated SW/WW systems. Certain hot spots need to be treated differently. Its a fact, intensify, yes but not irresponsibly.
The council and local board in this area must accordingly review and limit the intensification to what the unitary plan allows until the SW/WW is separated and all stormwater removed or separated from the wastewater, especially when our waterways health is at stake. I am sure It is not what the unitary plan commissioners intended or were aware of when they reviewed the proposed unitary plan.
The cost of separating the system would be a lot cheaper to do it now than later. We don't want to be known as the generation that knew about it but didn't do anything. Council and Watercare has been in discussion with us but we have hit a lot of red tape. Everybody agrees its a problem but nothing happens. Some developers including Housing NZ are telling the community they are not interested in the environmental risk outside of the boundary as It's councils problem. It doesn't matter which part of the country your in, sign our petition and we can let local Government know what ratepayers are really concerned about and keep intensification at an allowable level in certain "at risk" areas.
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