Sewerage upgrade delayed

The removal of one of the New Plymouth Wastewater Treatment Plant's aeration basins has been delayed.

The basin was supposed to be out of service from Monday last week but vital equipment from overseas had not arrived.

Water and Wastes manager Mark Hall said the delay was frustrating. "We are hoping our contractors will get the required blower equipment into New Zealand any day now."

The council was now aiming to take the basin out of service by Monday, December 3.

Until the basin is taken out of service there will be no changes to wastewater treatment.

However once it is out of service, half of the wastewater going into to the plant will be fully treated as usual but the other half will be screened to remove material larger than 3mm, disinfected, and then mixed with the fully treated water before being discharged to sea in the usual way, via the Waiwhakaiho outfall.

The announcement, made this month, of the work caused controversy within the community when the council issued a precautionary warning that there would be a higher risk of illness and skin irritation from swimming and gathering shellfish.

The work could also affect the Blue Flag accreditation at Fitzroy and East End beaches, two of only three in New Zealand, which can fly the flag as a sign they are pristine, safe, healthy and well-managed environmentally.

The basin will be out of service for about four months so it can be emptied and upgraded as part of the Wai Taatari (‘Filtered Water') project, which will enable the treatment plant to meet the district's needs for nearly 30 years.

Signs advising of the upgrade will be posted at Bell Block and Fitzroy beaches and the Waiwhakaiho River mouth when the basin is taken out of service.

Taranaki Daily News