Central Hawkes Bay District Council owns and operates six wastewater treatment plants – each of which have been inherited with their challenges.
Three of the plants – Porangahau, Te Paerahi and Takapau - have consents expiring in 2021. Otane’s consent expires in 2042, but requires an upgrade by 2021, and Waipawa and Waipukurau’s content expires in 2030 – but both have significant performance issues.
Our treatment systems are predominantly conventional oxidation ponds with the two larger plants in Waipawa and Waipukurau having additional treatment to remove bugs. Our treatment plants manage predominantly domestic and commercial wastes. However, Waipawa and Waipukurau also have some trade waste contributors. Currently, five of our wastewater plants discharge directly to our rivers, and one to land via sand dunes.
Over the past year, Council has worked hard with the support of the community and made significant strides forward in planning for the future of our wastewater in Central Hawke’s Bay, consistent with the vision that “our effluent is treated in a sustainable way that creates a resource, protects our environment and continues to do so for generations to come.”
FUTURE-PROOFING OUR WASTEWATER
We have heard, through our community meetings to date, that the Status Quo is no longer acceptable. The current river discharges are no longer okay, we need to future proof for growth and to comply with impending changes to freshwater standards.
Council experts have worked to develop cultural, environmental and engineering aspirations for our new and improved wastewater infrastructure. But this comes with a significant cost, anticipated to be approximately $66m for the entire project. And this cost is a challenge. We’re pulling out all the stops to alleviate these challenges as much as possible, while working in the background to undertake operational and minor capital improvements to achieve compliance and better performance.
Further into this guide, we’ll outline the potential costs for each option, for each of the three projects. While the numbers are significant for a small rural council, if we work hard now to build wastewater infrastructure the way we want to, Central Hawke’s Bay will be in an excellent position to build on these upgrades and use our waste as a resource into the future.
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