Press Release – Christchurch City Council
Council decisions to install pressure wastewater systems in ten areas of the city were revoked by Christchurch City Council’s Acting General Manager City Environment, Terry Howes*, this week.Friday 25 October 2013
Pressure wastewater roll-out halted for ten areas of Christchurch
Council decisions to install pressure wastewater systems in ten areas of the city were revoked by Christchurch City Council’s Acting General Manager City Environment, Terry Howes*, this week.
Of the ten decisions revoked, the majority are in areas where no work on pressure wastewater installation has begun and no consents have been received.
In these ten areas new decisions will be made after consultation with the community. In the meantime, no further installation work will be undertaken in these areas.
In making his decisions, Terry Howes took into account a recent High Court judgment relating to the installation of a pressure wastewater system in catchment area PS8 (Pump Station 8). The case was brought by an affected resident in Richmond, Christchurch.
In that case the Court found that the Council’s decision for the Richmond area (Pump Station 8) was flawed because the Council did not consult with property owners before it made its decision.
Two other applications for judicial review have been filed – by a Parklands resident and the Concerned Christchurch Citizens Group (CCCG). These proceedings have been consolidated and will be heard together but no hearing date has been set. Residents in seven pressure wastewater areas are represented in that case.
In revoking the Council’s decisions in these ten areas, Terry Howes said that the Council has had to carefully consider the conclusions in the Bailey judgment and the relief awarded in that case. The decision provided the Council with an opportunity to revisit its decision-making processes in order to respond to the Court’s comments and to contribute to the overall certainty of outcomes for the wastewater rebuild programme.
Defined areas revoked
In his decision Terry Howes has said it was not appropriate to revoke pressure system decisions in all areas of the city for a number of reasons. These included:
* the importance of continuing to provide a functioning wastewater system as a core service for the community,
* that property owners in many areas had provided consent for installation on their property,
* the Council’s obligation to use its resources in an efficient and effective matter in the interests of its district,
* the flow-on effect of pausing wastewater work, for example, the inability to install other infrastructure in those communities, where that is done after wastewater pipes are repaired.
Where to from here
Pressure installations are continuing in several areas of the city where the decision has not been revoked. SCIRT will stop work immediately in those areas where the decision has been revoked. Council hopes that after consultation, decisions can be made before the end of 2013 or early in the New Year.
In all, 27 areas of the city, or 5600 households, were considered to be suitable for pressure wastewater systems in the aftermath of the severely damaging 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch.
More than 600 km of wastewater pipes were damaged or broken in the earthquakes. The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild team has the task of repairing these pipes and installing new wastewater systems. The total cost of the repair of the city’s broken wastewater systems is estimated to be around $844 million.
In the aftermath of the earthquakes, Christchurch City Council delegated authority to the General Manager City Environment “to approve the use of an alternative technology in any given area if the alternative technology provides cost or time benefits and service resilience advantages over conventional gravity systems.” (27 October, 2011)
The alternative technologies included enhanced gravity (shallower pipes with more lift stations along the way to the pump station), vacuum systems (currently being installed in Shirley and soon to be installed in Aranui) and pressure.
Progress to date
Around 800 tanks have been installed in Brooklands, Halswell, Hoon Hay, Southshore, Woolston, Shirley, Richmond, East Avondale, Parklands/Queenspark, and New Brighton.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel will be available for comment.
*See City Environment Group File Note dated 22 October 2013.