Taihape - Papakai Wastewater project update
Since 2020, Council has been investing in upgrades to the pump station. An upgraded pump station is now operational, which gives the overall wastewater system more capability and we’re nearing the completion of the next stage in the project, which will lead to significant environmental improvements.
November 16, 2023
An upgraded pump station is now operational, which gives the overall wastewater system more capability. We are nearing the completion of the next stage in the project, which will lead to significant environmental improvements.
Taihape residents will know that there has been quite a bit of construction activity happening at the park for the past few months, and we know that it’s caused some inconvenience for users of this space. But it’s with good reason. The current wastewater system in Taihape is not fit for purpose. There are well documented issues with the pump station at Papakai, which has lead to sewage discharges into the Hautapu River. Two fibreglass wastewater storage tanks have been installed at the park to reduce the chance of sewage overflows into the river during heavy rain events. The tanks are both 28m in length, and together can store up to 260,000 litres of wastewater, which then gets treated.
Speaking of treatment, many questions have been asked about treated wastewater being discharged to land rather than into the river as it does currently. The amount of land needed for such an operation is significant. Initial calculations suggest that depending on the soil type and other factors, 170-630 hectares would be needed, and it has to be flat land without runoff into any waterways. There is not a lot of land around Taihape. While we continue to look into the best practical option for the long term future we are also looking into ways to upgrade our treatment plant to achieve a better quality of the discharge.
This will see wastewater treated to a better level before returning to the river systems. While it won’t completely remove all the discharge, it will be an improvement on what currently goes into the river.
Council staff will be meeting with locals in the next month to discuss the restoration of Papakai Park to its recreation use, as part of our Making Good strategy.