Wānaka Sun       

EPA notifies Otago proposed plan changes

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 16 Jul, 2020 | By Pat Deavoll editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

On July 8 the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)notified three important Otago proposed plan changes: two that strengthen water quality provisions and one that deals with replacing expiring water permits and directs a duration for new water permits. 

Earlier this year, the Otago Regional Council (ORC) asked Minister for the Environment David Parker to ‘call-in' the three plan changes to allow staff to focus on the development of a new Land and Water Regional Plan.

At the time Gwyneth Elsum, general manager for Policy, Science and Strategy said, “The proposed plan changes are a “quick-fix” to put a framework in place to deal with immediate problems in our current water plan. This will allow us to focus on reviewing and updating our regional policy statement and continue our work towards a new Land and Water Regional Plan that will be in line with national water policy direction.”

The proposed Water Permits Plan Change (which proposes provisions to manage the replacement of deemed permits and expiring water permits) was notified by ORC in March 2020. It is now being re-notified by the EPA.

Anyone can make a submission on this plan change.Those who have  already made a submission to ORC, can make another submission to EPA  All submissions (either already received by ORC or sent to the EPA) will be considered together.

The Water Quality Plan Changes (also known as “Omnibus”) propose new regulations to improve water quality in Otago. It includes two different plan changes: Plan Change 8 (discharge management) to the water plan, and Plan Change 1 (dust suppressants and landfills) to the waste plan.

The proposed plan changes include new policies and rules that:

  • Strengthen policy direction for assessing resource consent applications for discharges of stormwater, wastewater and contaminants from rural land uses 

  • Improve minimum standards for effluent storage systems and discharges of effluent to land 

  • Promote good farming practice for high-risk practices, through the introduction of controls on intensive winter grazing, and exclusion of dairy cattle and pigs from lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands

  • Provide for the use of sediment traps in intermittently flowing rivers

  • Strengthen provisions for managing sediment loss from earthworks for residential development 

  • Clarify policies relating to the establishment of regionally important infrastructure in wetlands 

  • Introduce improved controls on the use of dust suppressants

  • Strengthen the policy direction for assessing resource consent applications for landfills 

  • Absolutely anyone can make a submission on these plan changes. The submissions period is open until 17 August 2020.

    Read edition 983 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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