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Mapping crops for freshwater
27 Aug 2015
Out on the hunt out ‘in the field’ this week, the Council environmental services team has been busy searching for crops grown for animal feed in the winter. Read more >>
Whatatutu water supply granted
20 Aug 2015
A $386,000 subsidy for upgrading the Whatatutu community to a treated water supply was awarded to Gisborne District Council last week. “We’re very pleased that our application was successful and we can make clean safe drinking water available to the Whatatutu community,” says water utilities manager Neville West. “The current supply doesn’t meet New Zealand Drinking Water Standards,” “There are high levels of sediment from the bore, which the process equipment cannot treat adequately.” The upgrade will allow all households to connect up to a 100% treated water supply and more water would be available. “Without MoH funding an upgrade costing $500,000 may have fallen to the ratepayer, or without it, if the existing system stopped working residents would become fully reliant on rainwater supply and delivered tankers to top up.” Council submitted an application for 85% of funding to the Ministry earlier this year in February. “This has taken considerable effort to get across the line,” says Mr West. An original application prepared by OPUS in 2014 was declined. As part of the funding requirements residents and owners in Whatatutu needed to agree if it went ahead all houses would eventually need to progress onto the new system. “We met with people in Whatatutu to talk about the options. Everyone who responded with feedback agreed that the upgrade would be best for their health and well-being.” The funding contract will be finalised with the Ministry of Health in the next month and then a tender put out for the design and construction. “We expect the supply to be in and running by June next year.” Mayor Meng Foon, says the Whatatutu community will see a marked improvement on water quality, consistent supply and improved general health in this community. Read more >>
Wetlands could remove viruses from wastewater
13 Aug 2015
A wetlands complex could be the simplest, most natural way to remove human viruses and bacteria from Gisborne’s treated wastewater. Medical Officer of Health Dr Bruce Duncan, who chairs the Wastewater Technical Advisory Group (WTAG), says using plants and sunlight in the design of a wetland makes sense. He and fellow WTAG member molecular biologist John Mackay are looking at how simple things like plants, sunlight, bark chips and some metals could help naturally destroy viruses and bacteria in the environment. “We know sunlight, our natural UV, kills viruses. Rather than blasting treated wastewater with an electrically powered UV disinfection system, we could use sunlight as it flows within wetlands,” Dr Duncan says. Their work is part of Gisborne District Council’s joint-funded trials to see if a wetlands complex is a realistic alternative to ultraviolet disinfection. This was to be added to the city’s wastewater treatment by the end of 2014 but WTAG recommended a wetland as the best alternative. By 2020, WTAG and Gisborne District Council hope to see the city’s treated wastewater – also called effluent – flow to land instead of sea. Wastewater treatment is being upgraded to ensure cleaner water in the bay. Dr Duncan says domestic sewage contains a variety of bugs, including bacteria and viruses. These can be divided into the normal, beneficial organisms in everyone’s gut, and those causing disease. “We want to protect human health and wellbeing by removing these bacteria and viruses.” Current wastewater treatment has some impact on viruses but some go through the biological trickling filter (BTF) unchanged and will survive in the environment. “A lot of viruses, including norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, will die if water remains in a wetland for three days. But other viruses like adenovirus – a cause of colds, rashes and diarrhoea – can survive for up to 60 days. Adenovirus won’t be wiped out by the BTF. When we remove adenovirus from domestic wastewater, we can be confident we have got rid of many other viruses.” Mr Mackay’s tests show the BTF is taking out 90 percent of bacteria and viruses. “But the remaining 10 percent is still a lot, hence the need for a final clean-up step through wetlands. Being smaller and more robust, viruses are typically not removed by the BTF as efficiently as bacteria. We want to know how well the wetlands trial plant deals with viruses." Read more >>
New roading contract announced
6 Aug 2015
A new contract for managing the Gisborne roading network will foster continued improvement and innovative approaches, and devote additional resources to communities such as Ruatoria. Read more >>
More pine tree felling on Titirangi
6 Aug 2015
Tree felling on the port side of Titirangi and an area at the summit will start this weekend with some road closures in place. Resource consent has been approved to fell some of the remaining Pine on other parts of Titirangi Reserve. Read more >>

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