With the dodgy socialist dam feedlot contamination will only increase


A reader comments:

If the Ruataniwha dam goes ahead the intensive shingle feedlots, that are by the way not subject to consents, will increase and pollute even more. Interesting that some of the worst offenders are in the recently added Zone M which includes the Papanui catchment – that feeds into the Tuki Tuki river along with Otane Waipawa & Waipukurau wastewater & sewage treatment plant discharges.

Our reader makes good points. The Tukituki already is at maximum headroom for nutrient load and frequently goes over it because of poorly designed wastewater treatment plants at Otane, Waipawa and Waipukurau. The Hawkes Bay Regional Council is supposed to be the regulator yet in ten years have done precisely nothing, until recently, about this problem. The reason they have had to act now is because of the headroom issue and the need for the Ruataniwha dam to be consented when it will increase the nutrient load. The problem arises when the promotor of the dam is also the regulator and a poor regulator at that. If the elections return another pro-dam council then resident can kiss the Tukituki goodbye.   

Which brings us to the feedlot problem.


Harmful farming practices are being pointed to as a cause of the “disgusting” state of Hawke’s Bay’s rivers.

Although the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has said the Tukituki River is unlikely to be the source of the bacteria which caused around 5200 people to become sick, Tukituki Labour candidate Anna Lorck argues the gastro outbreak highlighted wider issues around water quality in the region.

Examples of this can be found down a country road near Waipawa, where animal carcasses and feedlots lie near the Tukituki River, and other streams.

Feedlots are an enclosed area where livestock are kept and fed. They are permitted, and only require consents if they do not meet certain conditions.

Although areas like these are “out of sight”, Ms Lorck said, practices like these could be harming Hawke’s Bay’s rivers.

“We had the biggest wake-up call of any community in the country, and we’re now dealing with a Third World problem,” she said. “It’s creeped up, all this intensification is going to come to a head. What’s more important than safe drinking water, and swimmable rivers.”

Environmental scientist Mike Joy said effluent from feedlots could contribute to waterway pollution.

“In feedlots, cattle compress the soil so much they make it absolutely impermeable … it makes it like a big pan, so when there’s rain the water will run straight off,” he said, adding this did not take much rain.

The Massey University ecologist said effluent could also “leech down into the soil” after rainfall events, or it could seep deeper as cracks appeared in the ground after dry winters.

Feedlots close to rivers were more of a concern. In floods, it might take a river four hours “to get in proximity of effluent”, but “that’s nothing in the life of some pathogens”, he said.

And on feedlots located on old riverbeds, effluents can easily move through the “porous” alluvial gravel.


And what was the council solution to people’s alarm at feedlots? Again, our commenter tells us:

The locals have complained for the last few years about the feedlots on Pourerere Road next to the Papanui Stream just before the Tamumu Bride Waipawa, and Hawkes Bay Regional council advised the owner to ‘plant some trees’ so the public couldn’t see. Will let you know the names of all the offenders shortly.

So, the council who is responsible for protecting the environment, instead protects the farmers by telling them to plant trees so people can’t see their feedlot. There is a slight problem with that…you can still smell them.

The appetite for the dam took a blow when the crisis hit Havelock North. The ineffective councils have lost their support as a result. People no longer trust them to be proper guardians of fresh and clean water. The dam is doomed, but the vested interests who stand to make a lot of money from the project keep plodding on.


– HB Today

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