$11.5 million water treatment plant upgrade

An $11.5 million dollar upgrade of the Branxholme Water Treatment Plant to provide Invercargill and Bluff residents with cleaner drinking water has been confirmed.

The upgrade is needed as the current treatment performance can struggle to meet the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards. UGL Ltd, formerly known as United Group Ltd, has been confirmed as the tender winner.

Invercargill City Council Water Manager Alister Murray said the Council wanted to improve the performance of the plant to meet modern and increasing expectations of safe and palatable water.

“We currently source our water from the Oreti River and like all waterways in New Zealand, it may potentially contain organisms such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Currently the water is subject to continuous testing both during and after treatment, to see the effectiveness of the treatment’s ability to remove the organisms. The risk of Oreti River carrying these organisms is subject to review every five years, meaning sometime in the future the risk could be reclassified at a higher level, requiring the plant to operate at a higher level than before.

“Over the last two years Council has examined the plant’s short-comings and identified 13 options for Branxholme, of which a preferred option was chosen. Water testing and pilot trials were conducted to prove the suitability of this option, after which a detailed design was prepared for the tender process.

“Council selected the tender offer from UGL to carry out the works for the amount of $9,701,060. UGL intends to use local businesses and trade in the construction process. The total cost to complete the project is estimated at $11.5 million which includes Council undertaking some of the work using its own resources. The cost has been budgeted into the Council’s Long-Term Plan 2015/2025,” Mr Murray said.

“The upgrade will produce water that is clearer and more sparkling than before, free from the muddy taste and smell. The treatment process will be upgraded to be capable of reliably meeting the Drinking Water Standard, not only now but in the future. The project is expected to be completed in March 2017.”