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Recommissioning of Wastewater Treatment Plant a top priority for council

Published: 15 March 2023

Last Updated: 11 April 2023

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Napier City Council staff and contractors are working hard to recommission a vital piece of infrastructure for the city.  

The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) remains inoperable after being inundated by floodwaters and silt caused by Cyclone Gabrielle. The plant suffered extensive damage and the repair program is complex.  

Mayor Kirsten Wise is acutely aware of the impact this has on the Napier community.  

“The implications of having an inoperable Wastewater Treatment Plant for local industry, mana whenua and households are significant. Recommissioning the plant is an utmost priority for council” says Mayor Wise.   

“We are re-setting priorities across the board to ensure this essential operation for our city is recommissioned in a safe and timely way.”     

Russell Bond, Acting Executive Director Infrastructure says the clean-up and repair program is significant and, in some parts, worse than first thought.  

“Progress has been challenged at times due to the detection of contaminated floodwaters and soil in the area. Now that we have access, we are working hard to remove the huge volumes of flood water and silt with excavators and sucker trucks.”   

“Simultaneously we have mechanical engineers repairing and replacing equipment, electrical engineers testing and rewiring, process engineers ensuring the system will run and control engineers writing and testing software.” 

“It’s all hands on deck to reinstate the plant, we are leveraging contractors and industry to expedite delivery.” 

A program of work has been established which involves a staged approach.  

“The first priority is to recommission the milliscreens which will allow a basic level of filtering of wastewater before it enters the outfall pipe. All going well we should see this operational within a month” says Bond.   

“Stage two of the project will involve reinstating the Biological Trickling Filter (BTF) plant which means we will be able to treat the wastewater before it goes out to sea.”  

Philip Kelsen, Acting Manager Water Strategy would like to remind households to conserve water until the WWTP is back in action.  

“Any household tasks which feed water into the wastewater system such as washing dishes or having a shower are where we are asking people to be mindful of their usage.” 

Residents are also reminded to avoid flushing baby wipes and sanitary products down the toilet.

“We currently have no screening system so anything flushed down the loo is ending up in the ocean” says Kelsen.

More information on recommissioning Napier's Waste Water Treatment Plant can be found here.

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