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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 3.5 Discharges* » 3.5.8 Implementation Methods - Well and Aquifer Testing Discharges

3.5.8 Implementation Methods - Well and Aquifer Testing Discharges

3.5.8.1 Permitted Activity Rule – Well and Aquifer Discharges

The discharge of water (including geothermal water) from well or aquifer testing into water, and/or onto or into land is a permitted activity subject to the following conditions:

  1. The discharge shall not cause visually noticeable iron flocculation* in the receiving waters.
  2. Any discharge to water shall comply with the suspended solids standards as set out in Section 3.2.4.5.
  3. The duration of the discharge shall not exceed three days.
  4. The discharge shall not result in flooding on any downstream property.
  5. Any erosion occurring as a result of the discharge shall be remedied as soon as practicable.
  6. The discharge shall not cause a temperature change of more than three degrees Celsius at any point downstream greater than three times the stream width at the point of discharge.
  7. There shall be no discharge to any Significant Geothermal Feature.

Advisory Note:

  • The activity of taking water for well and aquifer testing must comply with Rule 3.3.4.9, otherwise a consent for taking water must be obtained.
  • Significant Geothermal Features are defined in the Glossary, and in Development and Limited Development Geothermal Systems, identified on maps in Section 7.10 of this Plan.

3.5.8.2 Controlled Activity Rule – Well and Aquifer Testing Discharges

The discharge of water (including geothermal water) from well or aquifer testing into water, or onto land that does not comply with Rule 3.5.8.1 is a controlled activity (requiring resource consent) subject to the following standards and terms:

  1. The discharge shall comply with the suspended solids standards as set out in Section 3.2.4.5.
  2. There shall be no discharge to any Significant Geothermal Feature.

Waikato Regional Council reserves control of the following matters:

  1. The quality and temperature of the discharge.
  2. The rate/volume and duration of the discharge.
  3. Measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate the effects on downstream water levels.
  4. Measures to ensure that there is no associated erosion or scour at the point of discharge.
  5. Location of the discharge.

Advisory Notes:

  • The activity of taking water for well and aquifer testing must comply with Rule 3.3.4.9, otherwise a consent for taking water must be obtained.
  • The activities covered in Rule 3.5.8.2 are well and aquifer testing discharges that will:
    1. cause a degree of noticeable iron flocculation in receiving waters, and/or
    2. be of a longer than usual duration, and/or
    3. cause adverse effects on neighbouring properties, and/or
    4. change the temperature of the receiving surface water body.
  • Information requirements to enable the assessment of any application under this Rule are set out in Section 8.1.2.2 of this Plan. In addition, assessment shall also take into account the matters identified in the policies of Sections 3.5.3 and 7.4 of this Plan.
  • Significant Geothermal Features are defined in the Glossary, and in Development and Limited Development Geothermal Systems, identified on maps in Section 7.10 of this Plan.

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Methods 3.5.8.1 and 3.5.8.2
The discharge of any water associated with well or aquifer testing is restricted by s15 of the RMA and may only occur if allowed by a rule in a plan or by a resource consent. Generally, the discharge of water associated with well and aquifer testing will have insignificant adverse effects on the receiving environment. In accordance with Policies 1 and 3, Rule 3.5.8.1 therefore allows for these discharges provided a number of conditions are met. High iron concentrations in the water discharged have the potential to adversely affect fish by causing suffocation due to gill blockage. Small amounts of iron in the receiving water are visually detectable allowing easy monitoring of this condition. Suspended solids have the potential to adversely affect aquatic life and have been limited to a level, that will protect instream uses and values.

Rule 3.5.8.2 provides for well and aquifer testing which is not permitted by Rule 3.5.8.1 to be assessed as a controlled activity. This provides an appropriate level of scrutiny for more significant proposals, and the opportunity for site specific consideration of consent conditions.

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