Gisborne treatment plant upgrade costs blow out by $9m

4:01 pm on 12 May 2020

The ground is yet to be turned but the budget is already blown for the second stage of Gisborne city's wastewater treatment plant.

Gisborne’s wastewater network discharges treated wastewater to Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay – and raw sewage to city rivers in heavy rain, prompting health warnings.

Gisborne's wastewater network discharges treated wastewater to Tūranganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay - and raw sewage to city rivers in heavy rain, prompting health warnings. Photo: Liam Clayton / The Gisborne Herald

District councillors will be asked at a council meeting on Thursday to increase the budget for the plant's upgrade by more than $9 million.

The current budget of $24.4m is based on a 2016 concept design, but a report to councillors said necessary refinements to that design had pushed out the project's cost.

The second stage of the treatment plant would allow it to clarify and disinfect the city's wastewater before it is discharged into the bay.

The added layer of treatment is a resource consent requirement.

Councillors were advised to proceed with a $33.5m plant that provides consent compliance "at the lowest possible cost".

The report said the extra money needed for it would be incorporated into 2021-31 Long Term Plan budgets, to be adopted by 30 June, 2021.

For work on the plant upgrade to proceed in the meantime, councillors would also need to adopt a bigger budget in the 2020/21 annual plan.

The 2018-28 Long Term Plan set down $1.05m for the project in 2020/21, but the council planned to spend $11.76m on the upgrade next year after it agreed in February 2019 to get it done - and achieve consent compliance - as soon as possible.

The report said some equipment purchases for stage two of the plant were dependent on the council's adoption of its 2020/21 annual plan.

The $11.76m would also fund final designs and some construction work.

In March, before the Covid-19 lockdown, councillors were told construction of stage two was expected to get under way early next year and take up to 15 months.

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