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Progressing options for Hokitika’s future WWTP

Op-Ed for Hokitika Guardian

Consultants Stantec recently gave an update to Council’s Hokitika Wastewater Treatment Plant Project Oversight Subcommittee on progress with the project investigating options for the treatment and discharge of Hokitika’s wastewater.

With the significant amount of public interest in the project, for good reason, it’s an opportune time to clarify where this important project is up to, and what’s happening next.

The project is using the Business Case process to explore a range of possibilities for new wastewater treatment and discharge. This process is used across New Zealand for new infrastructure projects to: demonstrate the reasons for a project, investigate feasible solutions, and consider how and who will fund it. The aim of this process is to improve health, environmental and cultural outcomes, by delivering a fit for purpose resilient wastewater treatment system for Hokitika.

We are working closely with mana whenua representatives, who have been involved from the outset as a partner in the Oversight Subcommittee and Project Working Group. We are also in ongoing conversation with Silver Fern Farms regarding options for their treated wastewater discharges, and with Westland Milk Products regarding the potential to use their ocean outfall pipeline.

A shortlist of potential solutions was finalised earlier this year and the Project Working Group is assessing the technical details of these options. The shortlisted options include potential locations for the treatment plant (existing site, west of the airport, or on airport land), discharge receiving environments (land or ocean) and treatment types (biological trickling filter like in Greymouth, or conventional secondary treatment like in Westport).

The Project Working Group will use a range of criteria to further evaluate the shortlisted options to identify a preferred solution. These criteria include environmental, cultural, social, technical and economic aspects. As part of this we will be seeking community feedback and to facilitate this we will be holding public information and feedback sessions in early November. These sessions will be an opportunity to come and talk with project representatives, discuss the options and how we have got to this point, provide us with any feedback, and also let us know if you think we have missed anything.

We are on track for identifying a preferred solution early next year, which will then be presented to the Oversight Subcommittee for their consideration. Following this, engagement will take place with stakeholders and the wider community. Output from those activities will be further considered by the Oversight Subcommittee and then the preferred wastewater scheme will be presented to the Full Council for their consideration and endorsement. This will help align Council’s thinking for the Long Term Plan process.

We will then complete the environmental effects and technical assessments necessary to support the consent applications and other approvals needed in terms of statutory requirements.We will keep the community updated on the public information sessions closer to the time. If you’d like to find out more about the project in the meantime, go to Hokitika Wastewater Treatment Plant project | Westland District Council (

By Scott Baxendale, Group Manager District Assets Westland District Council