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The Big Wastewater Story

We know water is extremely important to you. When consulting for the 2018 Long Term Plan we heard overwhelmingly that water is critical to the growth and wellbeing of our District and because of this, improvements to our water infrastructure have been – and will continue to be - a focus through #thebigwaterstory.

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.

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.”

In 2019, we formally responded to the environment court order concerning the Waipawa Wastewater Plant and outlined a proposed long term plan for the future of Waipawa, Waipukurau and Otane’s wastewater. We’ve been working closely with community members develop options which focus on generational thinking to ensure a positive balance between the environmental health of our District, the strength of our infrastructure to enable Central Hawke’s Bay to thrive, and affordability for all of our people.

002380 RefinementProcess 1 1Alongside this stream of work, we are developing upgrade options for wastewater plants at Porangahau and Te Paerahi, and Takapau which all have consents expiring in 2021. Considerable work is also underway at the Waipawa Wastewater Plant.

Council experts have have worked closely with you, the community and iwi, to develop cultural, environmental and engineering aspirations for our new and improved wastewater infrastructure. But this comes with a cost. A cost of approximately $66m: $2m in Takapau, $10m in Porangahau / Te Paerahi and $54m in Waipukurau, Waipawa and Otane.

And this cost is a challenge. We’re pulling out all the stops to alleviate these challenges – we have applied for funding, and will continue to investigate other funding sources, while making a plan B, too, which would mean staging the upgrades to stagger drawing down on funding and repayments. In the background, we’re continuing to undertake operational and minor capital improvements to achieve compliance or aim to better performance, and reguarly taking sampling to understand our impact. You can read more about some of the wastewater projects that are already underway, below.

Whilst a sum of $66m is significant for a small rural district, if we work hard 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 whether it be to create an energy source, or to benefit land through the use of bio-solids.

Ultimately the Central Hawke’s Bay community has aspirations to remove and cease the wastewater currently discharging to our rivers and waterways, and position ourselves to be able to use our waste as a resource. These are big goals that’ll shape the direction of Central Hawke’s Bay’s wastewater well into the future and now, in planning for the 2021 Long Term Plan, we need to work together to decide how we’re going to bring these plans to life, alongside all of our other goals for Central Hawke’s Bay over the next 10 years, too.


The process pipeline

Process Pipe 1 2


#theBigWasteWaterStory Project Updates

To see progress updates on each individual project click the links below.



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