Hastings Wastewater Treatment Plant

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Hastings District Council was faced with meeting challenging resource consent conditions around the discharges from the new domestic wastewater treatment plant. These conditions balanced tangata whenua and wider Maori cultural and community needs, and created project complexities particularly in terms of affordability. This challenge required the identification of a best practicable option (BPO) solution as defined in the Resource Management Act; namely a solution that takes account of environmental, technical and economic considerations within the local social and cultural environment.

    Location: Hastings, New Zealand
    Region: Asia Pacific
    Market Sector: Water & Wastewater
    Status: Complete

    Unlike other municipal wastewater treatment plants which traditionally use primary and secondary treatment incorporating clarifiers, MWH Global, working with Hastings District Council, designed a modified biological trickling filter (BTF) process without primary or secondary clarifiers. This natural biological treatment process incorporates a low organic loaded BTF to transform the human waste (kuparu) and minimise the amount of excess biomass which is then discharged through a Papatuanuku (rock lined) channel to a 2.75killometre long offshore ocean outfall. The innovative arrangement eliminates the need for any sludge treatment and subsequent disposal and is a first for New Zealand and possibly internationally.

    The treatment process also involves fine screening of the waste before pumping into the two 37 metre diameter BTF structures where the screened wastewater slowly trickles through a 10 metre depth of randomly packed plastic media. This transforms the human waste into biomass, carbon dioxide and water which meets tangata whenua requirements for significant removal of kuparu and accordingly complies with the unique consent granted. Maori cultural acceptance, plant robustness, low energy use and the unique feature of it not having to treat and dispose of sludge are significant advantages of this approach.

    This unique $30 million domestic Hastings wastewater treatment plant has proven itself to be leading edge, technically robust, cost-effective and culturally acceptable. By separating the industrial wastewater flows from the domestic flows, an innovative solution was adopted that has resulted in a paradigm shift in wastewater planning and treatment.

    “In my experience very few engineering projects demonstrate both true innovation and excellence in delivery. On this project MWH Global, working closely with Hastings District Council staff, unquestionably achieved that.  I would like to say how pleased I am that MWH Global’s planning and engineering expertise has been sought out by other local authorities.  Given the substantial benefits we have secured on this project and the wide applicability of the planning and treatment approach to other authorities, I feel confident we will see many other Councils adopt this approach and I would encourage them all to work with MWH to achieve this. It goes without saying that we would work with MWH Global on similar projects in future.”

    David Fraser, Group Manager, Asset Management, Hastings District Council (September 2012)

    • Community and Tangata Whenua liaison
    • Resource consents and consultation
    • Wastewater process research and engineering
    • Process, electrical and controls engineering
    • Civil, mechanical, structural engineering
    • Engineer to contract, construction monitoring
    • Multi-criteria decision analysis
    • Project Management
    • Winner of the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Award (2012) for the Waste, Water and Amenities category – Hastings Wastewater Treatment Plant: A Paradigm Shift in Wastewater Planning and Treatment.
    • “The Hastings  waste water treatment project offers a simple low-tech solution that satisfies the many demands of the local community including the tangata whenua,” New Zealand Engineering Excellence Award judge Andrew Read said
    • “It was a well worked through adaptation of proven methodologies to produce a very cost effective solution that recognised cultural sensitivities. A great solution for this local authority and one that has already been used by other councils,” New Zealand Engineering Excellence Award convener Bill Darnell said.
    • The Hastings wastewater treatment plant project received a Merit Award at 2012 ACENZ INNOVATE New Zealand.
    • Jim Bradley, senior consultant and a national technical specialist, MWH Global delivered a plenary address to the 2012 International Water Association (IWA)9th Leading Edge Conference in Brisbane about the Hastings wastewater journey as an example of leading edge sustainable technological solutions.
    • The wastewater treatment method has now been successfully implemented by the Gisborne District Council. Napier City Council and the Grey District Council will soon follow suit.
    • The innovative design eliminates the need for any sludge treatment and subsequent disposal and is a first for New Zealand and possibly internationally.
    • This unique $30 million domestic wastewater treatment plant has proven itself to be leading edge, technically robust, cost-effective and culturally acceptable.
    • By separating the industrial wastewater flows from the domestic flows, an innovative solution was adopted that has resulted in a paradigm shift in wastewater planning and treatment.
    • MWH Global and Hastings District Council in New Zealand was awarded the Excellence in Engineering for Safety and the Waste, Water and Amenities categories at the 2012 New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards, for their project Hastings Wastewater Treatment Plant: A Paradigm Shift in Wastewater Planning and Treatment. 
    • The Hastings wastewater treatment plant, developed by MWH Global for Hastings District Council in New Zealand, was awarded a merit by the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) INNOVATE NZ awards. The wastewater project was recognised for its community engagement, design and development of a facility that met with the cultural considerations of the tangata whenua community, the standards of the consenting authority and also for being affordable by the Council.

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