Brown clears air on sanitation

Tuesday April 16, 2019 Written by Published in National
Finance Minister Mark Brown. Finance Minister Mark Brown.

Finance minister Mark Brown says no decisions have been made on the national sanitation project for Rarotonga – Mei Te Vai Kite Vai.


Brown, while responding to a query from Matavera MP Vaitoti Tupa in Parliament last week, said the report and the recommendations regarding the project require further public consultation to get people’s views on what they think should be the best way to dispose of the treated water from the septic systems.

MP Tupa said a report proposed the area for gathering this waste would be on land and extended out to sea.

He added the area earmarked for this was between the areas of Ngatangiia and Matavera.

“Therefore minister, this is the question to you, can this issue be brought back to the communities of Ngatangiia and Matavera or other communities for public consultation,” Tupa questioned.

In his reply, Brown said the project deals mainly with the protection measures needed to put in to protect the lagoon in the Takitumu area from Muri all the way through to Titikaveka.

A lot of work has been done in the past five years on pilot projects, on feasibility studies and most recently on scientific report to determine the cause of the algae growth in our lagoon, he said.

“And while nothing has been confirmed, the report does suggest one way to address the run off into the lagoon is to look at a reticulation system for all of our sewerage in the Avana to Titikaveka area,” Brown said.

“This will require a piping system to collect all waste water from the septic systems of businesses and homes to take them to a central point for processing. “This processing will result in water being the residual of the processing and the suggestions there again are we have the option of discharging this water that has been treated either into the ocean or discharging this water which has been treated on to land.”

To date, Brown said no decisions have been made on this report and the recommendations.

“However, if I might allude to a project funded by the Asian Development Bank in Apia where a reticulated sewerage system was put in place that collected all of the sewerage waste through the Apia area into a central processing facility.

“In this particular facility the solid waste was extracted and the phosphates were buried for a period of time to allow it to change into compost and the water that was taken out of this waste was treated to the extent where they were able to release this water into the coastal area in Apia next to their naturally occurring mangrove and this resulted in a renewal growth of their mangrove swamp area.”

Brown said the costings for a project such as this would be into the tens of millions of dollars similar to the costings of the Te Mato Vai.

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