Te Awamutu Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade
Te Awamutu is growing and we’re expecting to hit a population of 18,500 people by the year 2050. To help cater for this growth, the Te Awamutu Wastewater Treatment Plant needs to be upgraded. The plant will also cater for flows from the Waikeria Prison wastewater pipeline.
We’re spending approximately $13 million on wastewater plant upgrades in the Waipa district in the upcoming year, with an overall budget of $27.9 million highlighted in the 2015-25 Long-Term Plan. The Te Awamutu wastewater treatment plant is one project in a number of planned upgrades to the wastewater network across the Waipā district.
To date, we’ve completed Stage 1 & 2 of a four-stage upgrade, which included obtaining new resource consents and making upgrades to the dewatering plant.
We’re now at Stage, 3 which objective is to increase the treatment capacity and improve treatment processes so we treat wastewater to a higher standard, meeting new resource consent requirements. We expect to complete construction and commissioning by late 2020.
Stage 4 will be undertaken in approximately 10 years’ time, when we will move the aeration process into a new area on the site, forming a more efficient treatment facility that can cater for the growth beyond 2030. Once this is in place, the existing aeration ponds will no longer be required.
The majority of construction has been completed at the Te Awamutu Wastewater Plant with connections between bypass piping and installations of mechanical and electrical equipment continuing. Water testing has also started to take place in stages. This complex process is a key part of making sure new upgraded areas are compliant before turning them on. UV treatment has passed this first stage and is now in use, with water testing and completion of works on the inlet area still to take place.
In order to make the area safer for contractors and people, we have also installed fencing and metal chip seal for safe crossing.
Here are some photos of the newly installed equipment.
Great progress continues on the Te Awamutu Wastewater Treatment Plant with the new clarifier (large round structure) passing its water test. The platform is being constructed at present and a separate crew will be installing the mechanical elements in the coming weeks.
Excavations have also started for the new underground pipes which will connect between the clarifier and UV treatment area.
February 2020: The clarifier starting to take shape.
November 2020: Laying the foundations of the new clarifier.
What's new at the plant?
Within the upgraded wastewater treatment plant, we are using current best-practice technology with new screens to remove solids larger than 3 mm in size, a second clarifier, additional aeration and a new UV system that will sterilize the treated wastewater. The treated wastewater then goes through a rock filter to slow the flow prior to meeting the receiving environment.
The Te Awamutu WWTP was upgraded in the early 2000s to a modern Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) plant with clarifier and UV disinfection that replaced the earlier oxidation pond-based system. Previous environmental and technical studies have shown that the existing discharge has no significant adverse effects on the ecology and water quality of the Mangapiko Stream.
The upgrades focus on providing additional treatment capacity over time whilst also replacing/upgrading existing assets in a staged manner. They will also ensure the plant can continue to meet resource consent conditions whilst responding to the population, commercial and industrial growth requirements of the Waikato Regional Policy Statement, Future Proof and Waipa 2050.
The plant improvements are consistent with Te Ture Whaimana o te Awa o Waikato, the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River; and with Tai Tumu Tai Pari Tai Ao, the Waikato-Tainui Environmental Plan; whilst also understanding and considering any other matters of interest/concern to tāngata whenua.