Our staff have been talking to residents living at the top of Whau Valley about investigating a new site for a freshwater treatment plant.
8/07/2014 2:53 p.m.
“The water treatment plant on the corner of Whau Valley Road and Fairway Drive has been providing water to Whangarei for more than 60 years,” said Council’s Team Leader Planning - Infrastructure Projects Paul Bonetti.
“It has adapted well to the improvements to water quality that have been required over the past six decades, and now processes much more water than it did when it was new.
"But it is getting old now, and a lot of things have changed, including growth in our District, more residential development and traffic around the existing plant, new water treatment processes, and most recently higher earthquake standards.
“We are looking at all the costs and benefits of keeping the plant where it is and upgrading it, or whether it might be more efficient to build a brand new plant.”
The current plant is located on 0.38 hectares and the Council owns a 1.65 hectare site on the left hand side of Whau Valley Road, up towards the dam itself, where there are fewer homes and this would allow for more expansion in future.
“We don’t have any detailed designs – it is too early for that, we are still looking at the options. Even so, any proposed plant would have restrictions similar to resource consent conditions, to make sure it’s impact on the surrounding environment (including neighbours) were minimised.
“At this point we are talking with people who own land and live up the Valley to make sure we (and they) have all the information needed to make the best decision."
Mr Bonetti said the feasibility study would be completed in October and after that Council would decide whether to upgrade the existing plant or establish a new plant.
Council is also investigating all the requirements for designating the land for a water treatment plant, because planning requirements similar to those for other critical public infrastructure like road, rail, landfills, schools, hospitals, would need to be met.
Mr Bonetti said that if a decision is made to proceed with a new plant, the design of a suitable plant/layout would take 8-12 months with an additional 1 to 2 year construction period.