Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Milestone washes over Cambridge wastewater plant

Waipā District Council has marked a key milestone in the construction of Cambridge’s new wastewater treatment plant, with treated effluent diverted to a new outfall structure for the first time last week.

Mayor Susan O’Regan (pictured, above), elected members, mana whenua representatives, the Kaitiaki Group, regional council, and a representative from the Waikato River Authority were all present to witness history being made as the treated wastewater made its way to the Waikato River over the new structure.

The rock-lined structure on the bank of the Waikato River replaces the rapid infiltration beds system.

Resource consent for the new wastewater treatment plant was granted in September. Construction started in December 2023, with work underway until late 2026 when state of the art technology will improve the quality of the discharged wastewater.

Service delivery group manager, Dawn Inglis said the project was benefitting greatly from collaboration with mana whenua partners.

“In line with Mātauranga Māori framework, two mauri stones have been placed at the new outfall near to the kowhai trees which were planted at a pōwhiri last year,” she said.

Eugene Kara of Ngāti Koroki Kahukura next to one of the two mauri stones he will be carving.

Multi-disciplinary Māori artist and bronze carving specialist, Eugene Kara, of Ngāti Korokī Kahukura is arranging the carving of the stones.

“We also have a contract in place with mana whenua to plant the area once the mauri stones are completed. There are also plans for more planting, a wetland development, and a greenhouse.”

“Along with the stones there will be pou installed on either side of the river and bat boxes have been installed to encourage bats to the area,” Ms Inglis said.

Acoustic surveys have been conducted to identify where long-tailed bats are located throughout the district. Council says the surveying enables it to balance growth and development with protecting the habitat that these taonga need to survive and thrive alongside human communities.

The new treatment plant will receive, treat, and discharge wastewater from Cambridge, Leamington, Hautapu and Karāpiro Domain and will replace the existing plant at Matos Segedin Drive which has operated since the 1970s. It will have enough capacity to cope with Cambridge’s fast-growing population and will meet much higher environmental standards and legal commitments to the Waikato River.

The new outfall structure.

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