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Millions more for Papawai wastewater project

The works on Pa Rd as part of the Papawai wastewater upgrade project. PHOTO/MARY ARGUE

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South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] is looking at spending a further $1.9 million on top of what was initially contracted to upgrade the Papawai Rd wastewater pipeline.

Deputy Mayor Garrick Emms asked at the council’s latest assets and services meeting what the cost would be to finish the project.

Wellington Water network controller Garry O’Meara said from the last update Wellington Water had from a consultancy panel, they were looking at a “significant additional expenditure of about $1.9 million”.

Wellington Water group manager of network management Jeremy McKibbin said the original 2018 to 2021 long-term plan budget for Papawai Rd wastewater pipeline upgrade was $1.8 million.

“The Wellington Water engineer’s estimate for this project was calculated at $2.41 million [excluding GST].

“Following the tender evaluation and negotiations, Wellington Water awarded a contract for the agreed tender price of $2.62 million [excluding GST] in December 2020.”

He said the panel had been considering a change in methodology.

He said they were looking at the funding to “take it up again on the renewals budget”.

Emms asked if this would impact the levels of service. O’Meara said it appeared not to.

O’Meara said considering a backlog of work in the water networks, it would be timely to look at the Papawai Rd wastewater upgrade’s financial and general risk.

He confirmed that the additional $1.9 million needed to finish the project was not budgeted for in SWDC’s 2018 to 2021 long-term plan.

McKibbin said the original scope of the Papawai Rd wastewater pipeline upgrade project was to complete a 2km upgrade of the pipeline to expand its width from 225mm to 400mm.

He said a trenchless construction methodology was planned to be used.

“Early into the project, challenges were faced in unfavourable local ground conditions, which has seen the need to move to open-trenching methodology.

“The project team have been working with the contractor to investigate the options and associated costs of progressing with the project, and a recommendation memo for next steps will be made to SWDC in November.”

McKibbin said the work to date on the wastewater upgrade had been funded through SWDC’s annual capex delivery programme in the long-term plan.

He said a recommendation for the next steps for the Papawai Rd wastewater upgrade project would be made to SWDC in November.

Greytown resident Warren Woodgyer said his view was that infrastructure projects like the Papawai Rd wastewater upgrade were why there had been a rates rise.

Woodgyer said Greytown’s continuing growth could wreak havoc on its wastewater infrastructure.

The foreman on site from Construction Contracts Limited [CCL], Daragh Lynch, said there had been no complaints from residents, and instead, they had received banana cake, muffins, a Christmas ham, and “about 3000” apples from the nearby orchard.

He said the crew had undertaken work “on the side” at Papawai Marae and had carried out other “small jobs” in the community.

Papawai Marae kaitiaki [caretaker] Michael Roera commended CCL on their traffic management on the narrow Pa Rd.

Additional reporting by Mary Argue

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