Central Hawke's Bay District Council has yet to get its sewage systems working as a stink permeates the town.

Council is breaching its resource consents and in its latest attempt to get the system working at its Waipukurau sewage ponds, created a stench that permeated the town.

In lieu of a fine, Council agreed to a comprehensive study looking at the entire system, which includes commercial users.

Soul Hair Design owner Emma Mason-Smith said customers felt sorry for her living close to the Mt Herbert Rd ponds.


"It is foul, disgusting, horrendous," she said.

"Now that it is getting into the main street, that's working for us, because now people are starting to say 'hey this isn't good enough'. As I said to the mayor, we want to get put on the map but we don't want to be on the map as the smelliest town in New Zealand.

The consents for river discharges are now stricter than the Hawke's Bay Regional Council first intended, after a successful appeal to the Environment Court by Hawke's Bay environmentalists.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council Technical Services Manager, Steve Thrush said the council had a $8.7million limit for upgrading its sewage systems and turned down a land reticulation system proposed for land the Hawke's Bay Regional Council purchased and planted.

With an Environment Court deadline looming, the council opted for a treatment plan that included floating wetlands, which used bacteria on root systems to help purify the water, and sand filtration. UV is the final stage but is sometimes bypassed because of stormwater flooding the ponds.

Mr Thrush said the Council completed due diligence.

"We put floating wetlands in our Otane waste treatment plant and it performed exactly as we expected it to. And then we also went to Hunterville before we agreed to this plant. They have a very similar one to this, although smaller than this, which is floating wetlands and sand filtration as well.

"We got a bit of confidence seeing Hunterville were running it, getting the results we had to get, so we expected we would get a very similar result."


Hawke's Bay Regional Councillor, Tom Belford said the Central Hawke's Bay District Council needed to get its house in order.

"This has gone on 10 years. Somebody has to look at the basic competence of the CHB council to do this work. They have applied bandaid after bandaid after bandaid to this wastewater system of theirs and it still remains non-compliant."

Central Hawke's Bay mayor Alex Walker said it was actively looking for a solution and undertaking a comprehensive study into getting its sewage systems working.

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