Questions linger over treatment plant

By John Maslin

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Work is under way on rebuilding the city's waste treatment plant but some councillors still have issues. Photo/Bevan Conley.
Work is under way on rebuilding the city's waste treatment plant but some councillors still have issues. Photo/Bevan Conley.

The clock is ticking with the rebuild of the city's wastewater treatment plant but a majority of district councillors continue to press for closer inspections of the project.

There was to be an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to consider a motion proposed by Councillor Rob Vinsen but that was withdrawn at the 11th hour.

Mr Vinsen's motion called for an immediate suspension of the design process for a dryer for the WWTP until an independent review proves the dryer is a "financially prudent" investment without participation of the Affco Group in the wastewater plant.

The dryer was a later addition to the original Cardno plan, adding an estimated $9.3 million to the costs of the rebuild, bringing that total to $41m.

He pulled that motion receiving "substantial information" on the purchase of the thermal dryer from the council chief executive, saying that largely alleviated many of the concerns that he and some other councillors had.

Mr Vinsen said there were concerns that the predicted sludge volumes produced in the new plant may be inaccurate "and as a consequence of that the projected costs for ratepayers may not be robust".

He said their intention was to get the biosolids strategy technical data peer reviewed by Dr Fabiana Tesele, a wastewater specialist.

"However, on Friday (council CEO) Kym Fell provided councillors with new information from Dr Tesele who, unbeknown to us, had already done a review of the biosolids strategy. This alleviated most of our concerns about the dryer, so there was no need for the motion to proceed."

But now Mr Vinsen and six other councillors - David Bennett, Graeme Young, Murray Cleveland, Alan Taylor, Charlie Anderson and Philippa Baker-Hogan - have handed three new motions to the CEO.

"The first relates to bringing the dryer issue back to the council table for review between December 7-14 after the design stage The second was to have a presentation direct to councillors from the key trade waste companies (AFFCO Group and Tasman Tanning) together with Albert Van Oostrum, AFFCO's wastewater consultant.

"The third resolution was to try to bring to conclusion the most important requirement at this stage of the project - the signup of all companies who wish to take part in the scheme. Council has failed to achieve this over the last three years," Mr Vinsen said.

He said they had called for a meeting to be held on November 22 but that date was uncertain at this stage.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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