The Eketahuna wastewater treatment plant could be bypassed by a pipe to Pahiatua. PHOTO/FILE

BECKIE WILSON
beckie.wilson@age.co.nz
An ambitious project to build a 24km, $3.6m sewage pipe from Eketahuna to Pahiatua would save ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run, says the Tararua District Council.
The future of Eketahuna’s wastewater treatment plant was laid out in the council’s Long-Term Plan document, released this week.
The council’s preferred option is to halt all treatment of wastewater in Eketahuna and instead construct a pipe to the Pahiatua wastewater treatment plan.
This would reduce future resource consent and maintenance costs for the Eketahuna plant.
It is one of two options offered to ratepayers — the other involves building a new wastewater treatment plant and wetlands in Eketahuna.
While that project would cost about half the preferred option, the future ongoing costs would end up being more, the council’s economic development manager Mark Maxwell said.
“Yes, it is ambitious, but we think there could be some very tangible benefits down the track which is why we think it’s worth looking into as a preferred option before we decide on any other ways forward.”
Future resource consents were unlikely to last 30 years, like they once did, which means the council would go through a consent process more regularly.
Research into the project would start in the next financial year, with construction from 2019 to 2021.
Rates would increase annually and reach a peak of $61.97 in 2021/22, reducing to $53.53 in 2027/2028.
Annual operating costs include loan repayment of $182,000.
“We are estimating that over the lifetime of the pipeline there may well be three consent processes, and they are expensive — they can be half a million dollars to get one of those.”
This option also has lower environmental impact with only one discharge point rather than two.
The Pahiatua Wastewater Treatment Plant has enough capacity for Eketahuna’s low volume of wastewater.
Even if Eketahuna’s population was to double over the next decade it would still have capacity, Mr Maxwell said.
The 24km pipe would connect to the existing pipe in Pahiatua in the southern end of town, before reaching the plant along Boundary Rd.
The location for the pipe would be determined in future planning, but a possible option was along the main road’s corridor, he said.
“It’s subject to feasibility and cost analysis, but I guess it’s about saying, ‘Yes it is an ambitious project but let’s get a bit of a steer from our community if they want us to keep looking at this future’.”
The LTP consultation document is available at Tararua District Library, the council’s service centre, and online at: tararuadc.govt.nz