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Tokomaru Water Treatment Plant upgrade brought forward

Tokomaru Water Treatment Plant upgrade brought forward

The Tokomaru Water Treatment Plant upgrade will now happen within the next year with Horowhenua District Council finding a more financially-viable option allowing the project to be brought forward from 2025.

At its meeting on Wednesday night the Council decided to allocate $350,000 for the upgrade that will, in addition to the chlorine disinfection, see the water treated using a coarse sand filter, carbon filters, cartridge filtration and UV disinfection. This will allow Tokomaru's water quality to increase to at least a B grade under New Zealand Drinking Water Standards.

Six other options investigated were to install under-bench cartridge filters to each property, install UV filters outside each property, supply water from a private bore, an upgrade using slow sand filtration, cartridge filter and UV disinfection; or maintain the status quo and leave the upgrade until 2025.

The $350,000 plus $35,000 extra in annual operating and maintenance costs, will be funded from existing capital budgets for water treatment plant upgrades in the 2014/15 Annual Plan, meaning there will be no impact on rates.

Mayor Brendan Duffy is delighted Council staff met the challenge to find a quicker and less expensive solution for Tokomaru's water.

"We can now ensure that water supplied to the Tokomaru community will be fully compliant with New Zealand Drinking Water Standards, and all achieved much sooner and far cheaper than previously expected," he said.

"We need to acknowledge that the background work by Council officers is profound and this is where the real traction has taken place. Some pretty outstanding work is going on and making a real difference."

In the past five years Council investigated various options to upgrade the Tokomaru water treatment plant, with estimated costs ranging from $1.9 million to $3 million. Due to affordability, the decision was made through the 2012/2022 Long Term Plan to defer the upgrade to 2025. Council attempted to secure funding from the Government's Capital Assistance Programme (CAP) for the upgrade, but without success due to Tokomaru not meeting the deprivation index criteria set as part of CAP.

Meanwhile, Council continued to look for alternative and financially more viable solutions, with trials for the recommended option carried out over four months.

Results confirmed this upgrade would meet New Zealand Drinking Water Standards for both bacteriological and protozoa (giardia and cryptosporidium) compliance. Moreover, the treatment plant's carbon filter would remove dissolved organics that were an issue due to them reacting with the chlorine added to the supply for disinfection.

Mayor Duffy expected the decision would be welcome news to Tokomaru residents and that everyone the Council had spoken with supported the recommendation.

"This is a fantastic outcome and upgrading Tokomaru's water supply will provide health, safety, economic and social benefits to the community."


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