THE long-awaited Mangawhai Ecocare wastewater-treatment project has been given the green light.
Digging will start as early as next month.
The Kaipara District Council has finalised the contract with Earth Tech Engineering for the $53 million scheme for the next 15 years. That includes providing a wastewater collection, treatment and disposal system.
The project drew a $6.63 million subsidy from the Government and, when completed, is expected to be one of the most modern in Northland. It will service 3000 homes in the Mangawhai area and has been designed with capacity for anticipated future development. The treatment plant can be expanded if needed.
The contract was awarded using a guaranteed maximum price, which protects ratepayers from cost increases during construction.
A completion date of July 2009 is expected. Sub-contractors have been appointed and the area is now being pegged out.
Kaipara Mayor Neil Tiller said finalising the contract was the culmination of years of planning and consultation.
"This is an exciting example of a council, community and private sector working together to solve public health and environmental issues," he said.
The most thrilling aspect of the project was the ability to use reclaimed water for irrigation.
He said the community was committed to an effective and sustainable land-based sewage disposal. The end result was that waste water would be reused for sustainable farming and possibly to help the local golf club maintain its greens.
The council bought a $5 million dairy farm on Brown Rd to build a storage dam for the reclaimed water. The treated water meets Fonterra's quality standards, so dairy cows will be able to graze pastures irrigated with it.
Expressions of interest to use the reclaimed water and to lease the council-owned dairy farm were called for in October and closed last month.
The scheme involves 21km of sewers, 15 pumping stations, an 11km reclaimed-water transfer pipeline, an 110,000cu m storage dam, an irrigation system, 6km of rising mains and a wastewater treatment plant on Thelma Rd.
Ratepayers will pay a one-off targeted rate on connection and an annual user charge on their annual rates. Developers will pay a contribution charge on new titles.
The Kaipara District Council and Northland Regional Council will monitor service levels and environmental performance. If Earth Tech fails to deliver, it will be penalised by both councils.
An official groundbreaking ceremony on will be held on January 14 at 10am.