Open day an insight into innovative wastewater treatment
The annual tour of the Hastings wastewater treatment plant at Clive is on again on November 23, one that participants generally rate as surprisingly more fascinating than expected.
The journey from our toilets to this New Zealand-first facility in East Clive is made every day across the district from the farthest connected reaches of Hastings, Havelock North, Flaxmere, Whakatu and Clive.
This plant was built in 2008/09, at the time a first of its kind in New Zealand for its innovative biological (using bugs that naturally occur in people’s digestive system) trickling filter process, which has the advantage of producing no “sludge” to dispose of to landfill.
What made this a particularly unique project both nationally and internationally was its successful achievement of not only a technical solution but one that met cultural and spiritual aspirations of tangata whenua.
This was aided through the formation of the Hastings District Council: Tangata Whenua Wastewater Joint Committee, formed in late 2001 to bring tangata whenua into the decision-making around the plant’s design.
This resulted in the creation of the Rakahore Channel – a collection of rocks the treated human waste flows over for spiritual cleansing and reconnection with papatuanuku, before it is piped 2.7km offshore and discharged into the ocean.
Between 35,000 and 70,000 cubic metres of mostly liquid matter goes through the treatment plant every day. There are larger flows during the height of the horticultural season, from February through to April.
Hastings District Council three waters manager Brett Chapman says feedback from visitors on this annual tour that is part of the plant’s resource consent requirements was always positive.
“People usually come away feeling glad they attended to find out more about the process, and are impressed at how well they system operates.”
Visitors on the day will get to see the initial screening process (which removes the solids), the pumping process, a video of the way the bugs in the trickling filters work, and samples of the treated wastewater.
The free tour will be taking place at the plant on Richmond Rd, East Clive, from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, November 23.