Kerikeri's new sewage treatment plant will open about seven months later than expected after some of the plans had to be redrawn when a new construction site was chosen.

Originally the new plant — the Far North District Council's biggest infrastructure project to date — was to have been completed by the end of this year.

Kerikeri households and businesses are now expected to be able to connect to the new wastewater plant by the end of July 2020.

Council infrastructure manager Andy Finch said large, complex projects were often delayed by unforeseen issues.


"In this case, the new treatment plant was to be built in a disused quarry, but another more suitable site was selected after initial plans were drawn up."

The change of location required a number of design modifications and a pause in the construction schedule, he said.

"At the same time, we are competing with other significant construction projects around the country. Competition for qualified staff and other resources has contributed to delays."

Contractors now expected to complete the plant, which is located off Shepherd Rd, by the end of March 2020, allowing properties in the area of benefit to connect to the new reticulation system by the end of July.

The final stage of the project, decommissioning and dismantling the current, outdated plant near the corner of Shepherd Rd and Inlet Rd – is due to be completed by the end of October 2020.

The district council will apply to Northland Regional Council to extend its air discharge consent for the existing plant to cover the longer-than-expected period of operation. The consent is believed to be for the discharge of odour to the air.

Finch said he understood the delay was frustrating, especially for developers hoping to connect new buildings to the wastewater scheme.

"I appreciate this is not news they hoped for and I regret the impact this will have on their plans. However, I am confident the project will deliver the environmental and growth benefits we have promised for Kerikeri."


The cost of the project has also increased to $27 million from the originally budgeted $25.6m.

The delay will not affect the $7.3m Ministry of Health subsidy towards the project's capital costs.