Wastewater Management Strategy with a holistic, multidisciplinary approach.
Camp Adair is an outdoor recreational facility that has provided camp experience to more than 10,000 school children and family groups annually since its establishment in 1912. Since 1938 it has been operated by the YMCA and is a regionally significant youth facility which can house up to 374 attendees at a time. Located in the foothills of the Hunua Ranges, the camp is set away from the reticulated wastewater network.
Wastewater in the camp has been managed by an on-site wastewater treatment plant that discharges treated wastewater into the Wairoa River. YMCA’s existing consents expired and over the last decade they have been looking into potential alternatives for discharge in order to obtain a long-term consent for their treatment plant. On the whole, council officers favour land discharges to water discharges for a number of reasons including Iwi cultural impacts, ecological impacts and potential public health risks, therefore new water discharge consents were generally eliminated.
YMCA needed a long term consent for their wastewater treatment plant without the need to spend millions of dollars on developing new infrastructure to discharge their wastewater on land. In order to discover the best strategy, an integrated, multi-disciplinary team was formed included Boffa Miskell’s aquatic ecologists. Studies into a number of ways to discharge wastewater on land were identified and explored including engineering wetlands, purchasing more land, drip irrigation systems and more. However, it was discovered that large areas of land would be needed to accommodate so much usage with significant extra infrastructure and biochemical processes, which would lead to very high costs.
To acquire the best and most practical option, which was to continue water discharges, the team needed to prove that the effects of the wastewater on ecology, public health and the local iwi were minor and appropriately mitigated. By re-strategising the camp’s administration and management systems and aligning with the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan’s external recommendations, the camp was able to continue to provide for the cultural and social well-being of future generations without losing millions on unnecessary infrastructure to discharge wastewater on land. The Council accepted the evidence that this was the best practical options and a twenty year consent was admitted with only one mana whenua-related discussion point, which was later resolved after the presentation of assessments.
This project was highly successful due to the integration of the multi-disciplinary team, the early engagement ensuring all views had been assessed and resolved before the consent submission process even began, and the strong relationships that were built with the YMCA team to ensure the best outcome for all parties was achieved.
Our role was to analyse the effects of wastewater discharge on the aquatic ecology of the Wairoa River including ecological surveys, analysis of ecological and water quality data, preparation of an assessment of effects report and responding to requests for further information from Auckland Council.
|Client||YMCA Auckland Inc.|
|Project team||Eddie Sides|
|Project date||Jan 2015 – Feb 2015|
|Awards||Integrated Planning and Investigations Best Practice Award at the NZPI Awards 2016|