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Wastewater to be hot topic for next few years

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release, 4 February 2008

Wastewater to be hot topic for next few years

Expect to hear a lot about the upgrade of Gisborne city’s wastewater over the next three years.

That’s how long it will take before the new wastewater treatment plant off Aerodrome Road begins operation. Before then Gisborne District Council staff and CH2M Beca (Beca) consultants will be designing and putting into action the various components of the city’s biggest infrastructure project in 40 years.

By the end of December 2010 the city’s wastewater will be screened and treated through a biological trickling filter plant before flowing to sea via the existing 1.8km marine outfall pipe. The wastewater is currently only screened.

The multi-million dollar project can’t happen fast enough for Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon.

“We all want what is best for Gisborne. Cleaner water in the bay not only means a better environment for everyone to live, work and play. It also means that everyone visiting or living here has more opportunity to do what they enjoy and enjoy what they do.

“Our wastewater system must work in a sustainable way that is environmentally and culturally acceptable. We want to get the best value for money without compromising the project.”

Beca’s engineering team has nearly completed the pre-design phase and expects to begin the eight-month detailed design phase in April. Construction contracts will be awarded by mid-2009 with stage 1 construction completed by late 2010. The second stage of solids separation, treatment and disinfection works will be commissioned by around 2012.

The project’s most visible part will be the new wastewater treatment plant off Aerodrome Road. Less visible will be the reconfiguring and redesign of infrastructure to meet the conditions of the 35-year resource consents, approved by the Minister for the Environment in September 2007.

Conditions include wastewater network improvements to limit infiltration and illegal storm water connections within the sewerage catchment; the separation of industrial wastewater and investigations into its reuse, minimisation and further treatment; the elimination of visual “plumes” of wastewater in the bay; and research into alternative use and disposal options for treated wastewater, including investigating sustainable sludge management and disposal.

Some consent conditions have already been met. These include the establishment of a Wastewater Management Committee, the inaugural meeting of which will be held on 20 February, and the membership of the Independent Review Panel, yet to be confirmed.

ENDS

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