Monday, December 4, 2023

Pukete wastewater upgrade enters final phase

Progress is tracking well on Hamilton’s $56 million upgrade of Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The revamp will see the installation of one of the largest wastewater inlet screening facilities in the country.

Hamilton City Council’s City Waters Unit Manager, Maire Porter, said the work will ensure the city’s wastewater continues to comply with Waikato Regional Council standards.

“Investing in this upgrade is a part of Council’s renewal and upgrade programmes, which aim to ensure our city’s assets can cater for Hamiltonian’s wastewater needs now, and in the future, as our city grows,” she said.

Wastewater is the liquid that is flushed from our bathrooms, kitchens, and laundries, and usually includes additional chemicals and solids. As the first step in the treatment process, these inlet screens filter out solid objects that make their way into the system before the wastewater is treated.

The secondary treatment process at the plant has also had an upgrade, with a new basin (bioreactor), clarifier, and pump station that increases both the performance of the plant and the amount of wastewater able to be processed each day.

The next phase of the current upgrade project includes updating some of the existing plant to match the performance of the new infrastructure.

The skills and commitment of the plant’s project and operations teams have been an important factor in the success of the treatment plant. However, Council wants to encourage the wider community to play their part by watching what they flush, said Ms Porter.

“The team have worked incredibly hard to manage recent large flows of wastewater at the plant,” she said.

“It’s really important that we work together as a community to decrease the amount of unwanted materials and chemicals being flushed into the system, which can affect the performance of the plant and the safety of our people.”

The biggest culprit is wet wipes, but the Council team say they have found everything from children’s toys to blocks of timber caught in the inlet screens.

Work on the Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant Stage 3 Upgrade project began in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2024.

The first two phases included the installation of the new bioreactor basin, clarifier and a second onsite pump station, as well as improvements to the plant’s chemical storage facility.

The final phase involves the retrofitting of the four existing bioreactors, testing the new technology and upgrading the inlet screening facility.

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