District Water Treatment Plant upgrades underway

Tararua District Council is upgrading its water treatment plants in Dannevirke, Woodville and Eketāhuna. These essential improvements are aimed at enhancing drinking water quality in order to meet the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards supporting the district’s water treatment plants to meet future demands.

The infrastructure work is being done through a collaborative model between the Tararua District Council and Filtec water treatment specialists, which has been coined the FilTar Alliance. This partnership is based on the principle of having a single delivery team which shares risks and responsibilities and aims to deliver the best outcomes for the Tararua District.

According to Marco Alben, the FilTar Alliance Performance Manager; “The successful Pahiatua water treatment plant upgrade in 2020 was the first time we used this model for a large water project. We have transferred our lessons learned from that project to the current projects in Dannevirke, Woodville and Eketāhuna. The Pahiatua experience has allowed us to get a better understanding of the complexities of delivering water treatment plant upgrades,” says Marco.

Civil work on the water treatment plants has started this month and is expected to be completed around October 2021 for Dannevirke, and November 2021 for Eketāhuna and Woodville. “We must also factor in potential risks such as COVID-19 related disruptions to the supply chain which may cause unexpected delays to our schedule,” Marco explains.

The upgrades are funded through the Department of Internal Affairs Three Waters Stimulus Grant, as part of Central Government’s broader Three Waters reform programme, which is now moving at pace. In 2020, council was successful in securing $5.02m for investment in three waters (water, wastewater and stormwater).

As part of undertaking compliance upgrades to work towards safer and resilient drinking water for Tararua’s communities, the Dannevirke water treatment facility will be introducing filtration systems aimed at further improving the treatment process of the drinking water. This will also help Council to maintain its compliance record. In addition, the plant will be equipped for future upgrades, which would see an increase to its water supply, if required due to district growth expectations.

“We do not expect there to be any disruptions to the supply of water as a result of this critical work. A lot of thought has gone into planning to make sure any disruptions are kept to a minimum,” Marco said.

The combined cost of the three water treatment plant upgrade projects is estimated to be $3.2 million. The remaining funds from the stimulus grant will be used for further assessments, planning and improvements to water and wastewater infrastructure.