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Wastewater treatment plant gets green light

Media release – 9 March 2016

Wastewater treatment plant gets green light

At its meeting on March 9, the Whanganui District Council confirmed that a new wastewater treatment plant will be built.

The plant includes a sludge drying facility, which, while initially adding a capital cost, will reduce annual operating costs.

In December 2014, the Council resolved to delay the construction of the plant until there was more certainty about affordability and sludge disposal.

At a meeting in November 2015, Councillors agreed to commission CH2M Beca to undertake a two-stage process. The first stage was to assess the likelihood of getting a new discharge consent with less strict conditions.

Depending on the results of stage one, the second stage was to evaluate whether the Cardno-designed plant was the best design when considering environmental and cost efficiency issues.

The updated cost of the build is $39M, which includes an additional $7.4M for the sludge dryer facility and the cost of disposing dried sludge to land. The Council previously approved covered stabilisation tanks and other odour mitigating features ($6.5M) after advice from independent experts.

A guaranteed maximum price for the construction of the new plant will be negotiated, which takes into account changes in inflation and the exchange rate.

Mayor Annette Main says the Council has been really careful to make sure it has all the information needed about costs and options.

"All the groundwork has been done to ensure the Council has made the right and most responsible decision for a plant which is affordable and environmentally sound.

"The design has been peer-reviewed by two independent wastewater experts and the costs have been reviewed externally.

“Our Council has initiated a debt repayment programme, which along with funds received from the sale of Wanganui Gas, has cleared the previous debt. This has enabled us to build the new plant without the addition of added debt.

“We now have a high degree of certainty and we are looking forward to beginning the process of building a plant which works for everyone in Whanganui.”
As a result of this decision, the Council plans to update its annual and 10-year plans. These documents will be out for public consultation in April.


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