Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Waikato water bylaw adopted

Waikato District Council has adopted a new Trade Waste and Wastewater Bylaw to help strengthen the protection of the Waikato River and the environment.

Following public consultation, an additional new clause in the bylaw will see mortuary waste separated from the public wastewater network as a prohibited waste, Council said in a statement.

“The implementation of this clause will mean that mortuary waste will no longer be discharged to the Waikato River, which aligns with Te Ao Maaori (Maaori world view), Te Ture Whaimana (our vision for a healthy Waikato River), and the majority of submitter feedback,” says Kaiwhakamaahere, Jodi Bell-Wymer. 

“The bylaw enables Council to give effect to Te Ture Whaimana as well as our compliance outcomes under the Resource Management Act.” 

Although treated mortuary waste complies with acceptable discharge standards, cultural values are not considered and the act of discharging the treated mortuary waste to waterways is abhorrent to Maaori, said Ms Bell-Wymer.

“The new clause will ensure mortuary waste is disposed of in a manner approved by mana whenua, honouring Te Ao Maaori and protecting the river.”

She said the clauses and definitions relating to mortuary waste have been kept open to allow for future collaboration between Council, Waikato-Tainui, mana whenua, funeral homes, and other stakeholders. 

While the Bylaw has been adopted, Council said the mortuary waste requirements will not come into effect until stakeholders have had the chance to work through appropriate treatment and disposal options. 

“A new method for disposing of mortuary waste hasn’t yet been confirmed, but we are working alongside stakeholders to understand how best to manage mortuary waste disposal in our district,” said Ms Bell-Wymer.

“Collaboration is key, and we won’t be telling them what to do but will work together to come up with solutions.” 

Other aims of the new bylaw include to protect public wastewater infrastructure, provide clearer information on connections and outline accountability for damage.  

“These changes will help us implement Te Ture Whaimana as well as provide clarity on the wastewater connection process, prevent damage to infrastructure, and address asset damage liability.”

More information on the Bylaw can be found here.

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