Bringing down the cost

Search for cheaper wastewater solutions

Search for cheaper wastewater solutions

File photo of wastewater treatment plant, Madurodam Miniature Town, Netherlands.

THE cost of upgrading the city’s wastewater system is estimated to be between $20 and $50 million . . . but a working group is trying to bring that figure down, the GDC Future Tairawhiti Committee was told. A final figure should be known in June.

The wastewater options review group formed by the council is looking at the possibility of a wetlands system, further processing, or a combination of both, as it moves to meet the requirements of the council’s resource consent to discontinue using the submarine outfall pipe.

Senior projects manager Wolfgang Kanz said a range of options was being considered by the working group. The project had a budget in the long-term plan of $12m. The final cost had not yet been determined — at this stage it was likely that costs would range between $20m and $50m, depending on the option chosen. The cleaner the water, the higher the costs would be.

“The more you spend, the more you get.”

More accurate figures would be available in June. That would allow for community consultation. The core function of the work done at the moment was to find ways to reduce costs while achieving the outcomes required by the consent. When options were presented last December, the council was looking at costs for a “full monty” project of $85m. They had worked their way down to a figure of $20 to $50 million, which was still a “big bang.”

Mayor Meng Foon asked if there was enough time before the council had to seek a new resource consent. What could happen if the council was presented with an option that was too expensive? Mr Kanz said if the council made a decision by the end of the year, it would have enough time.

Working group member Shannon Dowsing asked the council to respect the process in place. There were four councillors in the group who were going through a lot of information. The outcomes were more and more positive by each meeting.

The costs were reducing greatly since the December meeting. Engagement between iwi and councillors was very positive. The process was working well — they were doing what they had been tasked with. Bill Burdett said when the wastewater management committee came back to the council, he believed they would have “nailed it”.

Mr Foon asked if the group had decided on the best economical and sustainable place to put a wetlands. Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said it would be better not to speculate on possible sites for a wetlands at the moment. Mr Dowsing said there were big discussions going on with iwi at the moment. It was not good to speculate. Mr Foon said this was one of the council’s biggest spends. If you were doing this work at home, you would want to know.

Graeme Thomson said the council had to be prepared if it found that costs were prohibitive. Mr Kanz said they were waiting for critical information on the receiving environment for the wetlands.

“Having said that, we are close — definitely by the end of May and hopefully before then.”

THE cost of upgrading the city’s wastewater system is estimated to be between $20 and $50 million . . . but a working group is trying to bring that figure down, the GDC Future Tairawhiti Committee was told. A final figure should be known in June.

The wastewater options review group formed by the council is looking at the possibility of a wetlands system, further processing, or a combination of both, as it moves to meet the requirements of the council’s resource consent to discontinue using the submarine outfall pipe.

Senior projects manager Wolfgang Kanz said a range of options was being considered by the working group. The project had a budget in the long-term plan of $12m. The final cost had not yet been determined — at this stage it was likely that costs would range between $20m and $50m, depending on the option chosen. The cleaner the water, the higher the costs would be.

“The more you spend, the more you get.”

More accurate figures would be available in June. That would allow for community consultation. The core function of the work done at the moment was to find ways to reduce costs while achieving the outcomes required by the consent. When options were presented last December, the council was looking at costs for a “full monty” project of $85m. They had worked their way down to a figure of $20 to $50 million, which was still a “big bang.”

Mayor Meng Foon asked if there was enough time before the council had to seek a new resource consent. What could happen if the council was presented with an option that was too expensive? Mr Kanz said if the council made a decision by the end of the year, it would have enough time.

Working group member Shannon Dowsing asked the council to respect the process in place. There were four councillors in the group who were going through a lot of information. The outcomes were more and more positive by each meeting.

The costs were reducing greatly since the December meeting. Engagement between iwi and councillors was very positive. The process was working well — they were doing what they had been tasked with. Bill Burdett said when the wastewater management committee came back to the council, he believed they would have “nailed it”.

Mr Foon asked if the group had decided on the best economical and sustainable place to put a wetlands. Chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said it would be better not to speculate on possible sites for a wetlands at the moment. Mr Dowsing said there were big discussions going on with iwi at the moment. It was not good to speculate. Mr Foon said this was one of the council’s biggest spends. If you were doing this work at home, you would want to know.

Graeme Thomson said the council had to be prepared if it found that costs were prohibitive. Mr Kanz said they were waiting for critical information on the receiving environment for the wetlands.

“Having said that, we are close — definitely by the end of May and hopefully before then.”

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