Horowhenua District Council has opened its upgraded Tokomaru water treatment plant ten years early and with no adverse impact on rates. The $350,000 water treatment plant upgrade was funded from existing capital budgets for water treatment plant upgrades in the 2014/15 annual plan after council found an alternative approach to earlier options. Those earlier options may have cost an estimated $1.9 million to $3 million.
Such high costs meant the upgrade would have been deferred until 2025. Miranui ward councillor Ross Campbell said the upgrade was a milestone for the Tokomaru community.
“We can now rejoice in knowing that water supplied to the Tokomaru community will be fully compliant with New Zealand Drinking Water Standards. This upgrade will ensure that Tokomaru’s water supply will provide health, safety, economic and social benefits to the community.”
Cr Campbell acknowledged Horowhenua District Council staff, including infrastructure services group manager Gallo Saidy for his “attitude and commitment”.
Council’s chief executive David Clapperton said Tokomaru residents Christine and Arthur Toms also deserved acknowledgment for years of strong advocating for better quality water for their community.
Council had attempted to secure funding from the Government’s Capital Assistance Programme (CAP) for the upgrade, but without success due to Tokomaru not meeting the deprivation index criteria set as part of CAP.
Meanwhile, council continued to look for alternative and financially more viable solutions, with trials for the recommended option carried out over four months last year.
Results confirmed this upgrade would meet New Zealand Drinking Water Standards for both bacteriological and protozoa (giardia and cryptosporidium) compliance. Moreover, the treatment plant’s carbon filter would remove dissolved organics that were an issue due to them reacting with the chlorine added to the supply for disinfection.
In addition to the chlorine disinfection, the upgrade sees the water now treated using a coarse sand filter, carbon filters, cartridge filtration and UV disinfection. There is an annual operating and maintenance cost of $35,000.
Around 20 people attended the opening ceremony for the plant including representatives from the community, local iwi Ngati Whakatere, district councillors, council staff and local contractors Downer.
Pictured: Drinking Tokomaru’s new water are, from left: Shannon Anglican Church priest John Williams; Tokomaru resident Christine Toms; Horowhenua District Councillor Ross Campbell; Tokomaru resident Arthur Toms; Ngati Whakatere representatives Robert Ketu and Te Omaki Rauhihi; and Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Clapperton.