Environment Waikato has granted urban stormwater discharge consents for a number of Hauraki towns.
Hauraki District Council had applied to divert and discharge urban stormwater runoff for Waihi, Karangahake, Waikino, Mackaytown, Paeroa, Ngatea, Kerepehi, Turua, Waitakaruru and Whiritoa. Four submissions were received from the Department of Conservation, a resident, Ngati Maru Runanga and Te Ruunanga A Iwi O Ngati Tamatera.
Ngati Maru Runanga reached an understanding with the District Council and did not wish to be heard.
In its application the District Council said it aimed to ensure that urban stormwater discharges had no detrimental effects on receiving waters, and that the quality of stormwater would be improved over time through public education, on-site stormwater treatment and regulatory initiatives.
Environment Waikato stormwater project manager Rob Hart said that non-routine contaminant discharges to stormwater systems posed the most significant risks to urban stormwater receiving waters in the district. Such discharges would include accidental spillage or deliberate contaminant discharges to stormwater systems.
Routine urban stormwater discharges were not considered to be having a significant adverse effect on the district's receiving waters, and were not inconsistent with the provisions of the Resource Management Act or Environment Waikato’s plans, if managed in accordance with the recommended consent conditions.
Granting the consents, the Hearing Committee said it recognised the complex nature of urban stormwater and the challenges confronted by its effective management, particularly in view of the diverse range of urban land use activities that affect stormwater quality and quantity characteristics.
In the Hauraki district the receiving waters were unique in terms of their catchment land use and topographical features. Predominant rural land use, and the flood control initiatives and infrastructure within the Hauraki Plains catchments greatly influenced the nature of the larger streams and rivers.
In making its decision the Committee had taken into account the concerns of submitters, and incorporated solutions into the consent conditions that were balanced with the evidence of effects of the District’s stormwater diversion and discharge activities on the environment.