Council in the poo over Queenstown’s sewage headache

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Queenstown Lakes District Council has scrapped a controversial plan to truck Wakatipu sewage sludge 90km to Tarras. 

Central Otago District Council’s had 72 submissions – 66 opposed – to QLDC’s idea of carting 840 tonnes annually to a farm there. 

QLDC solid waste boss Stefan Borowy and strategic projects boss Martin O’Malley have told their council committee of “a strong feeling of opposition by most people close to the proposed application site and also in the general Tarras area”. 

They say a Tarras spokesperson claimed residents were “particularly aggrieved at the lack of consultation”. 

“There’s such a depth of ill-will against QLDC and the landowner about the way the proposal has been handled that they’ll never support it in any shape or form,” Borowy and O’Malley reported. 

“The application has been put on hold until further notice.” 

For over a decade, QLDC has searched for a sewage solution – unsuccessfully. 

Plans have been laid for a new Shotover Delta treatment plant to liquify much of the sewage, allowing it to be safely spread over adjoining delta land. 

But there’ll still be residual sludge – which is where Tarras was to play its part. 

What now? “There’s no silver bullet answer,” Borowy and O’Malley say, proposing further discussions with CODC on other solutions. 

Meantime, sludge will continue to be dumped in the Gibbston Valley landfill at $110 per tonne – $7714 monthly. 

Trouble is, landfill owner/operator Scope Enterprises wants $210 a tonne – $15,000 monthly – and the parties are in dispute. Oh, shoot.