'Ponganui's' stinky sludge nearly gone

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 13/03/2014

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Progress is being claimed in the bid to ditch Ponganui as a nickname for Whanganui.

Horizons Regional Council received an update yesterday on work at the city's wastewater treatment plant, the source of a stench that plagued residents last summer.

The stench, which earned the city a new nickname, had been caused by recent dumps of trade waste - including fat, proteins and sulphide - into a plant that could not cope with it.

"There certainly has been some progress," Wanganui District Council operations manager Mark Hughes told regional councillors.

Design work is under way on the new treatment plant and a short list of six tenders is being considered by the council for construction.

A decision on the successful firm is expected in mid April.

Mr Hughes said the council was three-quarters of the way through the task of removing 4000 tonnes of sludge from one of the two settlement ponds at the plant.

This was being dried and then placed in an unused pond, which would eventually be capped with clay and soil. With the plant out of operation while this work is carried out, Whanganui's wastewater was being diverted straight into the sea, Mr Hughes said.

"Odour issues have basically gone away, they've become minimal, so much so that we switched off the odour fence that we have around the boundary."

The fence was designed to remove odour-causing particles from the air before they left the plant.

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- Manawatu Standard

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