Water treatment plant in action after upgrade

Farmers and customers look over the new plant at Whitelea Rd.


Farmers, consumers, contractors and Clutha District Council staff all had the opportunity to look around the newly completed Whitelea Road Treatment Plant last Friday.
The $1.5 million upgrade to the plant means the water being consumed in the Richardson North and South Rural Water Schemes now complies with New Zealand drinking water standards.
The upgrade used membrane filtration technology to ensure the drinking water is safe and meets New Zealand standards.
Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the council’s focus had been on its Three Waters infrastructure to align with the changing needs of the community.
‘‘The upgrades align the plant with ever-increasing expectation and is symptomatic of council’s commitment to bring all our plants up to standard as quickly as possible,” Mr Cadogan said.
Funding for the upgrade was approved by the council in its 2019-20 annual plan, and contractor Pall Marshall Water Consortium completed the work.
Council service delivery group manager Jules Witt said it was committed to undertaking compliance upgrades to work towards safer, resilient and affordable drinking water for Clutha’s rural community.
He said work to upgrade the treatment plants for the Glenkenich, Moa Flat and North Bruce rural water schemes had begun, and compliance was expected in early 2022.
The upgrades were assisted by central government Three Waters stimulus funding.
Council infrastructure strategy manager Ben Gold said that although construction started in March last year, all work on site was stopped due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
‘‘But as soon as they could, the contractors returned, and by December 21 the plant was fully tested and commissioned.’’

The new Whitelea Rd Water Treatment plant is much bigger than its predecessor. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE

Mr Gold said water was taken from the Clutha River, then depending on river conditions a coagulant was added to aid in the removal of colour/organic material.
The water then passed through two membrane filtration racks where it passes through very fine membrane filtersto remove protozoa, bacteria and some viruses.
Some chlorine was then added for residual disinfection.
The Richardson North water scheme supplied by the Whitelea Road Water Treatment Plant has a total length of water mains of 85.7km; the furthest tank from the plant is10.7km away (Hollows tank).