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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 3.5 Discharges* » 3.5.3 Policies

3.5.3 Policies

Policy 1: Enabling Discharges to Water that will have only Minor Adverse Effects
Enable through permitted and controlled activity rules, discharges to water that due to their nature, scale and location will:

  1. avoid adverse effects on surface water bodies that are inconsistent with policies in Section 3.2.3 of this Plan
  2. not increase the adverse effects of flooding or erosion on neighbouring properties
  3. ensure that any adverse effects of sediment on aquatic habitats are confined to a small area relative to the habitat as a whole or are temporary, and the area will naturally re-establish habitat values comparable with those prevailing before commencement of the activity
  4. not result in significant effects on the Coastal Marine Area as identified in the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan, wetlands1 that are areas of significant indigenous vegetation and/or significant habitats of indigenous fauna, cave ecosystems or lakes
  5. not have adverse effects that are inconsistent with the policies for air quality provided in Section 6.1.3 of this Plan.

Policy 2: Managing Discharges to Water with More than Minor Adverse Effects
Control, through resource consents, discharges to water that are likely to have more than minor adverse effects so that:

  1. adverse effects on surface water bodies that are inconsistent with the policies in Section 3.2.3 of this Plan are avoided as far as practicable and otherwise remedied or mitigated
  2. the discharge causes no significant adverse effects from flooding or erosion
  3. there are no significant adverse effects from downstream siltation
  4. there are no significant adverse effects on the Coastal Marine Area, wetlands2 that are areas of significant indigenous vegetation and/or significant habitats of indigenous fauna, cave ecosystems or lakes
  5. any subsequent discharges to air do not have adverse effects that are inconsistent with the policies for air quality provided in Section 6.1.3 of this Plan.

Policy 3: Alternatives to Direct Discharge to Water
Land-based treatment systems will be promoted where soil type and drainage will allow and where adverse effects are minor or are less than those from a direct discharge to water. If the economic burden of adopting land treatment is unacceptable, provision will be made for a phased introduction of land treatment over an agreed period of time.


Policy 4: Discharges to Land

Ensure that the discharge of contaminants onto or into land maximises the reuse of nutrients and water contained in the discharge

Advisory Note:

  • The adverse effects of discharges of contaminants onto or into land and soil and subsequent adverse effects on water quality and air are addressed in the policies in Section 5.2.3 of the Plan.

Policy 5: Ground Water 
Minimise the adverse effects of discharges onto or into land on ground water quality by ensuring that they:

  1. do not compromise existing or reasonably foreseeable uses of ground water
  2. avoid adverse effects on surface water bodies that are inconsistent with the policies in Section 3.2.3 of this Plan as far as practicable and otherwise, remedy or mitigate those effects
  3. are not inconsistent with the policies in Section 3.8.3 that manage the effects of drilling and discharges associated with drilling on ground water quality.

Policy 6: Tangata Whenua Uses and Values
Ensure that the relationship of tangata whenua as Kaitiaki with water is recognised and provided for to avoid significant adverse effects and remedy or mitigate cumulative adverse effects on:

  1. the mauri of water
  2. waahi tapu sites
  3. other identified taonga.


Policy 7: Stormwater Discharges

Encourage at-source management and treatment of stormwater discharges to reduce water quality and water quantity effects of discharges on receiving waters.

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting the Policies
Policy 1 allows for the discharge of contaminants to water where adverse effects of the discharge will not be more than minor. This acknowledges that a number of low impact and existing discharges occur within the Region without compromising the purpose for which a particular body of water is being managed or having other adverse effects that are not acceptable. The cross reference to Chapter 6.1 is necessary because many discharges of this nature have the potential to generate objectionable effects of odour or other aerosols. Activities that are likely to breach these standards will not be enabled by permitted activities and are instead covered by Policy 2.

Policy 2 ensures that any discharge of contaminants to water does not result in significant flooding, erosion or siltation. The significance of flooding, erosion or siltation effects needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis taking into account the receiving environment. For instance, erosion or flooding effects on neighbouring properties are clearly more than minor and therefore are not to be enabled, but in many circumstances they are not of such significance that they must be avoided at all costs. The level of effect that is considered significant will depend on the circumstances of the discharge. Significant adverse effects on the Coastal Marine Area are identified by the objectives and policies of the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan. Significant adverse effects on wetlands, lakes and caves are identified by the objectives of this Plan. In terms of Policy 2, any effect that is not significant can be remedied or mitigated through the consent process so that the objectives of the Plan are met.

Policies 3 and 5 acknowledge that the discharge of contaminants onto or into land is an appropriate alternative to direct discharges to water where soil conditions and topography allow and where the adverse effects would be less. It is also recognised that by applying wastes to land that available nutrients and water can be reused.

All four of these policies recognise that discharges to water or land can have adverse effects beyond the receiving environment by cross referencing to objectives for managing these resources in Chapters 5.2 and 6.1.

Policy 5 recognises that ground water quality can be adversely affected by inappropriate use of soils to treat waste discharges. Correct design and operation of on-site sewage systems and land-based treatment systems is required to avoid adverse effects on the ground water resources.

Policy 6 recognises that the Council is obliged by s6 of the RMA to recognise and provide for the relationship of tangata whenua with water, waahi tapu sites and other taonga. This policy gives priority to the concerns of Maori based on their status as tangata whenua and as Kaitiaki, whilst maintaining the ability of Council to consider the concerns of other groups who are not tangata whenua. The phrasing addresses the concerns of tangata whenua who exercise kaitiakitanga over specific resources, ahead of other Maori submitters to a resource consent who have a relationship that is not based on the present day exercise of kaitiakitanga. The Policy emphasises the need for tangata whenua to identify water bodies and areas that are of significance to them. In order to implement this policy, Waikato Regional Council and tangata whenua who are Kaitiaki will need to follow the process set out in Module 2 of this Plan.

Policy 7 refers to statutory and non-statutory means which Waikato Regional Council can use to encourage methods of managing stormwater at its source and treating stormwater prior to its discharge to receiving waters. These include the resource consent process and the development and implementation of stormwater management plans. These detail the way in which stormwater networks are operated and include methods to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of stormwater discharge.

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