Doubtless Bay's Clean Waters to the Sea has launched a public campaign to raise funds for its appeal to the Environment Court against Northland Regional Council's renewal of consent for the Far North District Council to operate the wastewater treatment plant at Taipā.
The renewed consent was granted last year, the previous consent having expired in 2008.
CWTS chairman Wayne Parsonson said the organisation was working closely with three Ngāti Kahu hapū (Te Mana o Te Wa), which were also submitters to the appeal. They had engaged the same Resource Management Act lawyer to represent them so would share any funds raised.
Submitters were scheduled to appear at an Environment Court pre-hearing in Whangārei today prove the substance of their case, with mediation or a full hearing to "eventually" follow.
"With our whole-of-community backing, our submissions will make a strong case to overturn the consent issued by commissioners late last year, which was largely a rolling over of the original 1985 consent. It contains the same disregard to outflow pollution. It doesn't even mention phosphate levels, for instance," Mr Parsonson said.
Evidence of Parapara Stream and Aurere outfall pollution would again be submitted, including drone footage recorded on February 15 that he said showed toxic algal blooms "again" in both the wastewater ponds and the receiving Parapara ponds.
CWTS would also again submit its electro-coagulation (EC) wastewater cleaning trial data, which he said had been favourably peer-reviewed by NIWA, showing the removal of 95 per cent of phosphorus, 99.9 per cent of E. coli bacteria and algae, 85 per cent of nitrates, and 50-60 per cent of ammonia. With the addition of a centrifuge unit to follow EC treatment, separated nutrients could be delivered to convert sludge into fertiliser products, thereby negating an an expensive waste sludge problem.
Mr Parsonson said CWTS was requesting that the Taipā plant release water of recreational standard quality, with agreed parameters, which could be achieved with an EC upgrade.
"The water could even be reused," he said, "but the NRC and FNDC are currently showing they are asleep at the wheel by ignoring all the work we have put into this issue. They seem to want instead to carry on with the same old polluting methods that are demonstrably more expensive and don't work. Twentieth Century technology must give way to superior 21st Century technology when it arrives.
"It is particularly frustrating that public funds are being wasted on an Environment Court case that could instead be going towards a successful upgrade."
The Clean Wastewater Appeal would be launched at the Mangonui Waterfront Festival on Saturday, where the demonstration EC model will be operating. Members of both Clean Waters to the Sea and Te Mana o Te Wai would be there to answer any questions. "This is an important moment in time, when we hope the public will show their support when we need it," he said.
Donations could be made into the CWTS Charitable Trust Kiwibank account 38-9014-0256091-00, while a Give-a-Little page would be promoted.