Web Banner Tairawhiti

Wetlands trial could set benchmark

19 Feb 2016

Wetlands trial could set benchmark

A tour of our new wetlands wastewater project was given to members of the Wastewater Management Committee yesterday.

The trial, based at the wastewater treatment plant in Banks Street, is a small-scale version of a wetland treatment system and will determine how a system of native plants, algae ponds and drying beds will filter solids and remove bacteria and nitrates.

The trial investigates the potential for final dispersal of water onto a habitat wetland and re-use of solid bi-products.

Strategic planning manager David Wilson says the aim of the trial is to create a treatment process for our wastewater that will ultimately be clean enough to be repurposed.

“Council has been working closely beside the Wastewater Treatment Advisory Group (WTAG), to ensure a future wastewater solution is eco-friendly and the best value for rate payers.

“We’re working collaboratively with specialists from ESR and NIWA along with to get the best solution possible.

“It’s cutting-edge stuff and could set a benchmark for wastewater treatment in New Zealand,” says Mr Wilson.

Testing will be completed later this year and the results used to determine future options for that will be consulted with the community.

Wastewater is currently treated through the biological trickling filter that was installed in 2011, before it’s released into the bay via the 1.8km outfall pipe at Midway beach.

“If the trial is successful and the community wants us to go ahead, we could remove the need for the pipe in the bay altogether,” says Mr Wilson.

The wastewater management committee is made up of councillors and iwi representatives who monitor the standards, research and alternatives in wastewater treatment for the Tairawhiti region.

Due to the significance of the project, a karakia (blessing) was performed by local iwi kaumatua Charlie Pera when the trial commenced on 9 February.

The trial will be a highlight of the national Land Treatment Conference that will be held in Gisborne 16-18 March.

For more information see our wetlands project page.

Wetlands councillors visit

Councillor Bill Burdett and Larry Foster inspecting lysimeters