We are building a new wastewater system for Akaroa. The new treatment plant will be next to the water supply reservoir on Old Coach Road. It will use modern techniques to treat Akaroa’s wastewater.
The new wastewater treatment plant will replace the existing plant at Takapūneke Reserve and the outfall discharging to Akaroa Harbour.
All wastewater leaving the new plant will be treated to ensure it is safe to reuse to irrigate parks in Akaroa and to irrigate new areas of native trees and plants at Hammond Point and Robinsons Bay.
In future it may be used for other non-potable activities in Akaroa, such as garden watering or toilet flushing.
Consents are already approved for the new wastewater treatment plant on Old Coach Road, the new pump station at the Childrens Bay boat park and to upgrade the wastewater network of pipes and connections.
Additional consents are needed for the irrigation scheme. We lodged applications for these consents with Environment Canterbury (ECan) and the Christchurch City Council Planning Team at the end of May 2023.
The new applications seek consent to irrigate treated recycled wastewater to native trees at Hammond Point and Robinsons Bay, and to the Recreation Ground at the northern end of Akaroa. We’re also seeking consent to construct a wetland basin and a storage tank at the paddock at the top of Old Coach Road, and a larger set of storage tanks at the Robinsons Bay site.
Earlier in the project we anticipated also needing land for irrigation at Takamātua but, at the time of applying, that site was not required and is not included in our consent applications.
The applications are for consent to:
The applications package includes all the required forms and various reports and assessments to support the application.
The consent applications to ECan focus on discharging treated wastewater to land, while the applications to Christchurch City Council relate to land use, including storage of treated wastewater, and earthworks.
We'll be working with both organisations, answering questions, clarifying information or providing additional information if asked.
ECan and the Christchurch City Council’s consent team will decide whether to publicly notify the consent application or to give limited notification.
As the applicant, Christchurch City Council’s Three Waters Team has no influence on either organisation’s processes.
The resource consenting process is outlined on ECan's Welcome to Consents(external link) webpage.
The physical works for our $3.2 million project in Akaroa to reduce the inflow and infiltration of water from other sources into the wastewater system is complete.
This work targeted unwanted water entering the system through leaky pipes, manholes and household gully traps that receive surface water. Improving this problem was a high priority for many submitters during our consultation in 2021.
Our goal is to reduce the volume of groundwater and stormwater flowing into the wastewater network. Having less of this water in the system will reduce raw sewage overflows to the harbour in wet weather. It will also reduce the storage capacity needed to hold treated wastewater during periods of wet weather when we are unable to irrigate.
The next stage is to complete one full year of flow data collection. This work is already under way.
When we analyse the data, early in 2024, we'll know how much of a difference the work has made. That will help us decide the next steps to further reduce inflow and infiltration if needed.
The following is the wording of the Council resolution supporting the Inner Bays Irrigation Scheme option, passed on 10 December 2020.
In response to question one of the Akaroa Treated Wastewater Options consultation document, 'should we discharge highly treated wastewater from our new treatment plant to land or should we continue to discharge into Akaroa Harbour?'
That the Council:
In response to question two of the Akaroa Treated Wastewater Options consultation document, 'if it decides to develop a scheme where highly treated wastewater is used on land for irrigation, where would you prefer the Council to irrigate? Inner Bays (Robinsons Bay, Hammond Point, Takamātua), Goughs Bay or Pompeys Pillar?'
That the Council:
That the Council:
In response to question four of the Akaroa Treated Wastewater Options consultation document, 'would you like use to explore the feasibility of a purple pipe scheme for Akaroa, so that residential property owners could use the water for garden watering and other non-drinking purposes?'
That the Council:
That the Council:
Moved: Councillor Templeton
Seconded: Councillor Coker
(Councillors Chu, Gough and MacDonald requested that their votes against the resolutions be recorded).
Our work on this project began in 2014. This section gives some background to the project.
The Community Reference Group established for this project has completed its work. Members did a great job, raising issues of concern to the community and suggesting how these could be mitigated or overcome.
The group was made up of five community representatives, two rūnanga representatives and two community board members, with support from two members of the project team and an independent facilitator.
They gave us a wide range of advice and suggestions on the scheme, and ideas for how we could improve certain aspects. They were particularly enthusiastic about the move to use storage tanks instead of storage ponds. These tanks could be covered and sited further up Robinsons Bay valley away from the immediate neighbours.
The group said tanks would be more acceptable to the community as they mitigate risks associated with storage ponds, such as dam break, odour, insects and visual effects. It would also prevent rainwater from adding to the amount of treated wastewater to be irrigated.
The Community Reference Group has documented the work it did, the advice given to us and the reasons behind that advice [PDF, 226 KB].
We undertook five weeks of community consultation outlining four viable options in August 2020, before the hearings panel recommended and the Council accepted the Inner Bays Irrigation Scheme (Option 1).
We were granted consent to build a new wastewater treatment plant on Old Coach Road, a new pump station at the Childrens Bay boat park and to upgrade the wastewater network of pipes and connections.
However, our applications for consent to construct a new pipe outfall to Akaroa Harbour, and discharge treated wastewater via that pipe outfall, were declined. The hearing commissioners said a harbour discharge was offensive to Ngāi Tahu and that we had not adequately investigated alternatives.
We appealed this decision, but in 2019 we decided to drop the appeal.
The existing Akaroa wastewater treatment plant(external link) was built in the early 1960s at Takapūneke Historic Reserve.
It is now due for replacement and needs to be moved because the reserve is a historically and culturally sensitive place.
In 1830, Takapūneke was the site of a massacre. Te Rauparahau, with help from the captain of the British ship the brig Elizabeth, captured the rangitira (chief) of the māori pa, Te Miharanui, and killed about 200 of his people on the site.
It is now widely acknowledged that building a wastewater treatment plant at this site was extremely insensitive. The Council now recognises the area as a historic reserve and worked with Ōnuku Rūnanga in 2018 to develop the Takapūneke Reserve Management Plan(external link).
A site at the top of Old Coach Road was chosen for the new wastewater treatment plant in 2012.
This was one of two sites recommended by the Akaroa Community Wastewater Working Party and Akaroa/Wairewa Community Board. It was chosen for its proximity to Akaroa and to areas that in future could use treated wastewater for irrigation.
This site was supported by Ōnuku Rūnanga and is now owned by the Council.