Introduction What is the Discharge Plan project about?
Southland’s most significant A key water quality goal for the region set out in the Water Plan is a minimum 10% improvement in
water issue is the threat to levels of key contaminants (nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and microbiological contaminants) in
water quality from non-point degraded water bodies by 2015.
source discharges (pollution
from diffuse sources that can’t
The Discharge Plan project is a critical means of achieving this goal. The project will review the
be tied to a specific location).
regional plans dealing with discharges to land and combine them with the Water Plan to create a single
Lowland rivers and streams document. The project has been split into three phases.
in Southland show high
nutrient and bacteria levels.
Groundwater nitrate levels Phase 1 of the Discharge Plan project looks at
are also elevated in many discharges of agricultural effluents/sludges and the
areas. This reflects past and cumulative effects of intensive land use. The matters
present land development in covered by this phase include:
• Agricultural effluent ponds
• Farm dairy effluent
• Sludges and slurries
• Wintering systems and feedlots
• Silage pits
• Other agricultural discharges (e.g. from
The discharge of agricultural effluent will be reviewed during
• Cumulative effects of intensive land use
Phase 2 of the Discharge Plan project focuses on discharges to land from the following activities:
• Onsite wastewater systems (i.e. septic • Wastewater schemes, including municipal/
tanks). township schemes (owned by district and
• Industry/trade premises (e.g. factories, city councils), and community schemes
meatworks) including those discharging (which can service large subdivisions).
their wastewater and sludges/solids to • Other activities involving discharges to
land. land (e.g. road oiling, earthworks and other
Municipal-community wastewater schemes will be examined An example of a trade or industrial premises that will be looked
during Phase 2. at in Phase 2.
How will we Phase 3 of the Discharge Plan project reviews the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan for Southland. It will
achieve change? consider discharges to land from the following activities:
The review will consider • Farm landfills
all the current regional • Offal pits
plan provisions that cover • Cleanfills
discharges to land, and • Organic waste (composting operations)
decide whether to retain,
• Refuse disposal facilities (landfills)
amend, or delete existing
provisions, or add new
• Contaminated land
provisions. • Hazardous substances and waste
• Other activities involving discharges of
waste to land (e.g. radioactive wastes,
Farm landfills will be investigated in Phase 3, with the goal of
minimising their environmental impact.
Once the Discharge Plan project is completed, updates (called plan changes) will be incorporated into
Southland’s Regional Water Plan. The plan changes will introduce new policy and rules to manage
activities involving discharges to land throughout the Southland region. Some activities may be subject
to tighter planning controls and require resource consents. The review may also introduce non-
regulatory methods for managing discharges to land.
Where to from here
The intention is to complete detailed Issues and Options papers on the aforementioned topics for
public/stakeholder consultation, followed by draft plan changes to the Water Plan.
The following chart outlines Environment Southland’s intended timeframes for the project:
2009 • New plan provisions for agricultural effluent ponds were
publicly notified. A hearing on submissions to these new
provisions was held and Council decisions released.
• Scientific work on land use intensification was undertaken.
February to April 2010 • Discussion papers and draft plan changes on the topics
covered by Phase 1 (excluding those topics listed above as
well as sludges/slurries, dairy feedlots and winter grazing)
and Phase 3 will be circulated for public/stakeholder
June to July 2010 • Public notification of the plan changes consulted on
during February to April.
• Discussion papers and draft plan changes on the remaining
topics covered by Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be circulated
for public/stakeholder consultation.
October to November 2010 • Public notification of the plan changes consulted on
during June to July.
December 2010 to mid/late 2011 • Hearings on submissions to plan changes and release of
For further information on the Discharge Plan project, please contact Environment Southland’s
Policy and Planning Division on (03) 2115 115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.