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Carterton’s aged wastewater plant a ‘significant risk’

Carterton’s Long-Term Plan [LTP] has highlighted a “significant risk” to wastewater treatment in the district due to its aged wastewater treatment plant.

The sewage system has been hit with issues in the past, earning the Wairarapa town the nickname of “Farterton” on occasion due to the resulting foul smell.

Carterton’s wastewater is processed at two different sites – the Dalefield Rd wastewater treatment plant, which has been in service since 1940, and the newly constructed wastewater treatment reservoirs on Daleton Farm, which reached practical completion in 2023.

Carterton District Council [CDC] wants to make necessary upgrades to the facilities where the wastewater enters the Dalefield Rd wastewater treatment plant.

The equipment at the plant was last upgraded more than 60 years ago and has reached the end of its life.

“The plant equipment performs a critical role in the treatment of the wastewater and the functionality of the oxidation ponds,” CDC’s LTP consultation document said.

“There is a significant risk to our wastewater treatment process, which if [it] failed, could inhibit our ability to comply with legislation and our resource consent, result in ongoing unpleasant odours, and may restrict our ability to accept trade waste from local businesses.”

CDC is seeking feedback from the community on three options for upgrading its wastewater infrastructure.

The council’s long-term vision is to improve the treatment of urban wastewater in a sustainable way and improve freshwater quality by removing treated effluent from streams.

Option 1 includes three wastewater components: grit and fat removal, a new primary sedimentation tank, and foul air treatment.

This is a vital step to remove grease, oil, and fat from the wastewater so it can be treated.

This option is the most expensive and would cost $12 million over five years.

The Council’s preferred option, Option 2, involves minimum required upgrades to meet compliance and ensure network reliability.

This would include an upgrade of the existing primary sedimentation tank as opposed to a new one, and no funding for foul air treatment.

This option is preferred due to its lower cost burden to ratepayers, at $6 million over three years.

However, Option 2 carries the risk of increasing foul smells from the wastewater ponds that have earned Carterton the “Farterton” nickname on occasion.

Option 3, doing nothing and maintaining the status quo, carries significant risks.

It could result in the discharge of raw untreated wastewater into the Mangatārere Stream, abatement notices, fines, penalties for breaching the conditions of the council’s resource consent, a very likely increase in foul smells, and a surcharge into the network preventing people from flushing toilets.

The council’s ageing infrastructure is a key issue discussed elsewhere in the LTP Consultation Document.

About 48 per cent of the district’s wastewater pipes are in poor condition, and assets at the treatment plants headworks are past their service life.

Once the consultation document is approved on Wednesday, consultation will begin on April 5 and close on May 5.

All information and supporting documents will be available online at www.cdc.govt.nz/haveyoursay.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. 1940 how could carterton afford it? And all the councils from that date on done nothing? Dump the council sell assets. If the rural rate payers never maintained there sewerage they would be in the SH_T and breaking the LAW. Humans eat drink and go to TOILET 🚻 😑 🙃 😒. THIS MUST BE A JOKE HAHA 😄.

Comments are closed.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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