$37m green wastewater plant upgrade a big win for District

01 July 2020

The Government’s announcement of a $37 million investment in a new and greener Thermal Dryer for the district’s wastewater treatment plant will be a shot in the arm for the local engineering sector in Taranaki and a long term asset for the community, says New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom. 

Infrastructure Minister Hon Shane Jones announced the hi-tech investment this morning which will see New Plymouth-based Hiringa Energy supply hydrogen so the Thermal Dryer runs on a hydrogen/natural gas blend, servicing some 27,000 properties across the District. The new Thermal Dryer will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of running the facility by between 25% to 40%, cutting emissions. 

“New Plymouth is the only council that produces and sells fertiliser as a by-product from treating our wastewater, avoiding the sludge going to landfill, protecting our stunning natural environment and generating some revenue from what would otherwise be a cost,” says Mayor Holdom.

“We welcome the investment in a critical and ageing piece of infrastructure which will create a significant number of jobs for the very talented engineering sector in Taranaki who have time and time again proved our local expertise is on a par with anywhere in the world.”

“We welcome the Coalition Government’s investment in our community in an initiative which is good for the environment, good for the engineering sector and just what our local economy needs right now as we recover from Covid-19.”

“NPDC appreciates the support of Infrastructure Minister Hon Shane Jones, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Minister Hon Andrew Little who we know have all been instrumental in delivering this investment for the people of North Taranaki.” 

Thermal Dryer fast facts

  • It provides approximately 27,097 connections: 25,398 residential, 1,699 commercial & industrial. 
  • It serves approximately 61,946 residents or 76% of the district’s total population.
  • It treats between 7.9 and 10.8 million cubic meters of wastewater per year, up to 4,300 Olympic sized swimming pools.
  • When it was built in the 1984, the New Plymouth wastewater treatment plant was the first of its kind in New Zealand.
  • It produces about 1,600 tonnes of Bioboost™ each year from biosolids or sludge.
  • New Plymouth District is the only wastewater operator in New Zealand that produces fertilizer and sells it commercially. Others who have Thermal Dryers either put the dried product in the landfill or use it on their own parks.

This project was one of 1924 applications considered by the Government’s Infrastructure Reference Group from across New Zealand.

Wastewater Treatment Plant