FRIENDS of Banks Peninsula current projects
Akaroa Wastewater Beneficial Re-Use
The disposal of Akaroa’s Wastewater has been a difficult and contentious issue for many years. FRIENDS of Banks Peninsula seeks to work constructively with the Council and Ngāi Tahu to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties, sustainable and robust.
Water is a precious resource. Water restrictions are in force every summer in Akaroa and water shortage issues are predicted to get worse. Why throw away a valuable resource?
We support treating the wastewater to the highest standard and reticulation through Akaroa with a “purple-pipe” network so that people can water their gardens all summer. The council released a consultation booklet with it's options for submissions. The submission period closed 8 May, 2017. However, you can still read our submission and endorse it.
The Friends of Banks Peninsula submission supports consultation booklet Option 4 – Non-potable re-use in Akaroa and makes the following main points:
The water must be treated to the highest standard, safe for watering vegetables including salad crops.
The Council must take a lead using the water itself in public places to demonstrate its safety and commit to reticulation through Akaroa in a “purple pipe” network to give everyone, overtime, access to the water for their gardens.
Council data shows there is sufficient demand for 100% of the reclaimed water to be used once it is reticulated throughout Akaroa.
An interim solution for the remaining water will be needed for a few years while the purple pipes are gradually installed and before 100% uptake is possible. We suggest either retaining a harbour outfall during this transition period, or sending the water to Pompey’s Pillar for agricultural use.
Our solutions enable the existing treatment plant at Takapūneke to be decommissioned and an end to harbour disposal in the shortest possible time.
We submit that our solutions maximise the benefit, minimise the risks and increase Akaroa’s long-term resilience.
See the FAQs below.
The Akaroa sewage treatment plant currently situated at historically significant Takapuneke south of Akaroa is to be moved to a new location at the top of Old Coach Road. However, the Council has had its application to discharge the treated water from the new plant to the harbour declined with a directive to investigate land based alternatives more thoroughly. The Council must report back to the court with significant progress by June 30, 2017.
In April 2016 it released a plan proposing several options including a land based disposal in the Takamatua headland and valley. The headland area was subsequently withdrawn on geotechnical grounds and Council attention moved to the valleys of Takamatua and Robinsons Bay with water to be irrigated and absorbed either using a cut-and-carry pasture system or trees. It has also found sufficient flat land at a remote site at the Pompey’s pillar headland above Otanerito, but this requires a longer pipe and more pumping.
Residents approached the Friends of Banks Peninsula as a community environment society to support their concerns.
Q: Why not just put it back out to sea?
A: Akaroa has water shortages in summer, which puts pressure on the local streams from the volume of water taken. Putting the treated water back into the harbour wastes a valuable resource and does not help solve this issue, and it's offensive to Ngāi Tahu.
Q: Why are you in favour of watering gardens in Akaroa, but not properties in Takamatua and Robinsons Bays?
A: Re-use in Akaroa would be voluntary, meaning residents would make use of the water only when they need it. If the wastewater is used for irrigation in Takamatua or Robinsons Bay it would be disposed of – these areas do not need the water – and it would be at whatever (higher) rate the Council believes the land can take, rather than what it needs. The water is essentially being wasted, and places the local streams at risk.
Q: What is the difference between drinking water and water treated to salad crop standard?
A: Water treated to salad crop standard may be safely ingested, but would not necessarily be desirable to drink because of residual taste. It is expected that salad crops would be washed before being eaten.
Q: Is a purple pipe network practical?
A: We believe it is a viable option if installed over time when streets are being dug up for other reasons, to minimise costs. There may be other ways the reclaimed water could be used in Akaroa too, such as groundwater recharging (by watering the upper slopes of the catchment), establishing biodiversity reserves, horticultural enterprises – or other ideas we haven’t thought of yet. Please put your thinking caps on and see where else there might be a beneficial need for water to suggest to Council.
Friends of Banks Peninsula have been following with interest the situation surrounding the public toilets on Banks Peninsula. Many have had issues and are in need of upgrading, and some areas have no public toilets at all. Read the
report compiled by BECA on behalf of the Christchurch City Council, to give an overview of all of the Council maintained toilet blocks in our area and the suggested repairs or improvements that need to be made.
Grehan Valley residents have clubbed together to use a new baiting method to eradicate wasps in their valley. They needed an incorporated society to support their campaign and assist with handling the funds. FRIENDS of Banks Peninsula was delighted to help this group by providing an umbrella service to assist the campaign.
2017-2018 Season - there was noticeably less wasp activity in the valley compared with the previous season. There was not enough activity to warrant the pre baiting (which is the testing for the wasps going for the protein). However we put some wasp bait stations out in January & February in places where we noticed wasps in previous years, including Waeckerle’s Green and the Curry Track.
2018-2019 Season - Queen Wasps have been noticed flying and they will be looking for nesting places. Initially they will chew on wood to make their nests and then they will start laying their eggs to make their colony. Once the first wasps hatch they will be mainly foraging for protein to feed their larvae to build the colony. This is the time to strike with the Vespex bait. We have a small window of opportunity (maybe a couple of weeks) to use the Vespex bait as after the protein the wasps start feeding on carbohydrates (sugar) for energy. It is important to remember that Vespex is a preventative control designed to stop colonies getting established. It is of little use once the wasp population explodes and become a nuisance. When there is noticeable and significant wasp activity we will place the yellow bait stations at regular intervals throughout the street and valley - out of reach of children and dogs of course. As winter and spring have been very mild this year, it could well be a bad wasp season.