TasWater takeover debate adjourned until September 12

The owner of Queentown’s largest motel says he will have to close the doors in 12 months if he is made to pay for a new trade waste system.

TasWater has begun issuing non-compliance notices, with 18-month deadlines, to businesses after assessments of their kitchen liquid waste systems.

TasWater chairman Miles Hampton on Wednesday justified the directions, saying the water body was complying with state legislation and Environmental Protection Authority regulations.

West Coaster Motel owner Brett Cannan said the 60-room property would potentially have to spend $20,000 on plumbing, and possibly excavation work, to reach compliance.

“We’ve only got two kitchen sinks and a dishwasher,” he said.

“If we have to fork out $20,000, we’ll close the doors.”

He called on TasWater to fix its own issues, mentioning that it had not bothered to fix a concrete sewage tank near the town’s creek despite multiple requests.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said TasWater needed to work with businesses to provide more flexible solutions to satisfy regulations.

“At the moment, small businesses are telling us that the cost of this one-size-fits-all program that TasWater is rolling out is sending them to the wall,” he said.

“Businesses have been telling me that there are alternative solutions that provide the same environmental outcomes at a fraction of the cost and they are not getting any assistance from TasWater to implement those sensible solutions.”

Braddon Liberal MHA Joan Rylah said the government, under a TasWater takeover, was prepared to work with businesses, industry and the EPA to find more affordable solutions to trade waste issues.

TasWater chairman Miles Hampton said trade waste – like fats and oils – caused blockages to sewerage systems and could result in spills.

“Current practices by some businesses present a risk to public health and the environment,” he said.

“(TasWater) is simply asking businesses to take responsibility for the waste they produce by installing pre-treatment systems that will help reduce the risk to public health, to the environment and to our infrastructure.

“At the same time, we are reducing the cost impact on business who already comply and residential customers, who shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial burden.”

Meanwhile, debate on government legislation to enable a state takeover of TasWater was adjourned on Thursday night without resolution. It will resume when the lower house sits again on September 12.

The story West Coaster owner issues closure threat first appeared on The Advocate.

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