Preparing for growth in the Waikato region
In October 2017, a decision from independent commissioners for the Waikato Regional Council granted a resource consent for the discharge of treated wastewater from the Pukekohe Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) for 35 years—the longest wastewater treatment consent period to date in the Waikato region.
For this project, we undertook the resource management, planning, and environmental effects and alternatives assessments for resource consent applications which allowed continued discharge from the upgraded WWTP into the Waikato River. Several complexities were considered, including the existence of a wildlife wetland next to the plant, as well as engagement with Te Taniwha o Waikato, a group of nine marae covering iwi and hapū in the Lower Waikato River; stakeholders; and neighbours. We also considered the effects of upgrading the WWTP to a full membrane bioreactor plant from the existing sequential batch reactor plant, along with retaining ultraviolet disinfection and the wetlands.
Population growth within the catchment area is rapid, with significant residential, business and industrial growth planned under the Auckland Unitary Plan and the Waikato District Plan. Over 35 years the connected population is projected to grow from 27,500 to 82,200 by 2051.
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