With the pressure on to have our rivers clean, it is not only the dairy farmers who are feeling the heat. Town discharges into the rivers are coming under increased scrutiny and consents to discharge are becoming much more stringent.
Tararua is in good shape when it comes to wastewater treatment, thanks to the proactive attitude of Dave Watson TDC, group manager of plant & property, and the council.
Over recent years the council has invested heavily in the latest infrastructure using advanced technologies like tephra-beds to remove phosphorus, such that when Eric Bonny TDC Projects Engineer went to a recent Sydney conference he was asked to speak at it.
With new wastewater treatment plants being brought into full production at Woodville and Pahiatua and upgrades at Dannevirke as well as Pongoroa and Eketahuna, there was a need for the Tararua District Council to employ more expertise.
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Terry Lamb was brought in as wastewater treatment plant operator in October 2017. He came from the background of commissioning wastewater plants at Whangamata and fresh water provision at Tauranga and is really enjoying the Tararua challenge.
Focus at present is on maximising the Pahiatua and Woodville operations and the replacement of membranes in the Dannevirke plant which have lasted 14 years — four years longer than normally expected.
Thomas Kuggeleijn began working for the TDC in September labouring and carrying out water sampling and he has developed a real interest such that he has begun a two-year wastewater treatment cadetship. He could follow it on with a diploma and should that be the case "the world is his oyster", according to Terry, as there is a huge demand for expertise in the industry.
Terry encourages others to consider it a career even though at first glance it doesn't seem exciting. Thomas agrees: "The science is fascinating and more interesting the more you get in to it."