District’s biggest project reaches home straight

Published on 20 November 2020

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A five-month process to switch Kerikeri homes and businesses over to the town’s new wastewater treatment plant will begin in December.

Construction work on Kerikeri’s new $27.1 million treatment plant was certified complete on 23 October and final phase commissioning started this week. This will seed biological processes in Sequential Batch Reactors ahead of waste being redirected from the existing treatment plant on Shepherd Road.

Once final commissioning is completed in December, work can then begin to connect homes and businesses to the expanded sewer reticulation system. Contractor, United Civil Construction Ltd, will connect customers closest to the new treatment plant first and proceed outwards street by street. This work is due to be completed by May 2021. The Council can then decommission the aging Shepherd Road treatment plant.

Mayor John Carter says completion of the new treatment plant and the addition of hundreds of new customers to the sewer network will be a game-changer for Kerikeri.

“This new facility will significantly reduce Kerikeri’s reliance upon septic tanks and other on-site disposal systems. This means our fastest growing urban centre can more easily accommodate new residents and businesses without having to spread outwards.”

The new treatment plant will have capacity to treat 1000 cubic metres of wastewater per day which is three times the capacity of the current plant at Shepherd Road. Once connections are complete, the new plant will treat waste from 1090 properties already connected to the Shepherd Road plant and add another 350 central Kerikeri properties that currently rely on septic tanks. A further 350-400 new properties within the expanded reticulation network can also connect to the system. The actual capacity of the new plant will be confirmed when fully commissioned and has operated in both dry and wet weather flow conditions. 

If required, the new plant is designed to allow for expansion in two stages, with each stage allowing for another 800-820 properties to join. Current growth predictions for Kerikeri indicate that expansion of the plant will not be required for at least 8-10 years.

The total cost of the project will be offset by a $7.31 million subsidy from the Ministry of Health. 

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