Opunake tapping into cleaner water

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2014

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Opunake residents are the latest to benefit from the multimillion-dollar upgrade to water services taking place across South Taranaki.

About 20 council officials and contractors attended the opening of the upgraded Opunake water treatment plant yesterday, which included a tour of the revamped site.

The Opunake plant, which has been in operation since 1953, has had a $3.4 million makeover, including the installation of a membrane filtration system which stops dirt, bacteria and other pathogens like giardia entering the water supply.

South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop said the council had invested a huge amount of time and money into the modernisation of the district's water supplies.

The council oversees 13 water treatment plants.

Mr Dunlop said he had a sense of relief the project had been completed in Opunake.

"There was definitely a need to upgrade," he said.

The district's upgrade programme, which started eight years ago, has cost $56.3m. The Rahotu plant was recently upgraded at a cost of $580,000 and the one in Eltham is due to be officially opened in about six weeks. The final upgrade on the work schedule is at the Waimate West site, which is due to be completed in August, at a cost of $9m.

Council engineering assets and planning manager Howard Wilkinson said the Opunake plant had the ability to supply 2100 cubic metres of water a day, which would meet the demand of residents and surrounding farms.

Council chief executive officer Craig Stevenson said the work being done around the district water supplies was important, especially to towns like Opunake.

"It's a huge investment," he said.

Gerard Mullin, who owns the land where the Ihaia Rd plant is located, said he was impressed with the new look.

"It's good to see a major change as it used to be a run-down place," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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