What REALLY happens when you flush the toilet? Are you dying to know the current state of play regarding sewage in Whangarei? These and other riveting questions will be answered this weekend during the Kioreroa Wastewater Treatment Plant and wetlands open day on Saturday.
10/11/2014 4:06 p.m.
The Plant is the largest in the District, processing all of the wastewater from urban Whangarei (from Kamo, out to Tikipunga, from the Parua Bay and Whangarei Heads area and as far south as Otaika).
This Saturday 15 November, from 10am to 2pm, members of the public will be able to fire all manner of questions to Whangarei District Council waste and drainage staff during a guided tour of the plant's $2.9 million disinfection facility and the new $1.6 million floating wetlands and public walkway across the road.
The team at the Waste Water Treatment Plant will also take you for a tour to admire modernisation of the overall treatment plant grounds.
“We have made huge improvements to wastewater management across the city in the past six years, hugely reducing the pollutants going into the harbour. It has been a major investment by ratepayers, and a good thing for all residents, so we thought we’d give people a chance to find out about it,” said WDC Waste and Drainage Manager Andrew Carvell.
"The new $1.3million UV treatment process is operational at the plant has eliminated the largest single point source of bugs entering the Whangarei harbour during storms.
"We have installed an additional 512 ultraviolet (UV) lamps, that kill pathogens (bacteria and viruses) that are in sewage and wastewater. The new UV system process kills a staggering 99.998% of the bacteria that passes through it, turning potentially hazardous wastewater into something that would meet the quality required for swimming.
"During its first rainstorm the new system treated 23,600 cubic metres of rain diluted wastewater the first time it was turned on," Mr Carvell said.
“We estimated 726 trillion (725,985,000,000000) E.coli bacteria were killed that time and in the past they would have gone into the harbour during a major rain storm,” he said.
“Since then the plant has gone on to handle storms that delivered more than 500,000 cubic meters of waste water – probably 15 quadrillion (15,000,000,000,000,000) E.coli bacteria killed. The maths is pretty impressive,” he says.
A $1.6 million upgrade of the wetlands that 'polish' effluent released from the plant has also been completed..
“Early this year we cleared out the settled material and vegetation that has built up in the wetlands between Kioreroa Road and Limeburner’s creek over the last 26 years. We have also deepened them and made the flow path more hydraulically favourable.
“That means all our treated wastewater will be able to pass through the wetlands, even in huge storms, and it will be of a better quality at the point where it is discharged into Limeburner’s Creek.”
Mr Carvel said people attending the open day should wear closed shoes (no bare feet or jandals/sandals). Children should be supervised by guardians. The tour is really better for people over eight years old. If the weather is bad the day will be postponed.