Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has opened Watercare’s new $30 million wastewater pump station and 4.5-million litre underground storage tank designed to protect Shoal Bay from wet-weather overflows.
North Shore councillors, local journalists, Fulton Hogan contractors and Watercare staff watched as Mayor Phil Goff cut a ribbon before an automatic door raised up revealing the inside of the new pump house in Takapuna.
The pump house on Fred Thomas Drive has been built to transport wastewater to the Wairau Road Pump Station and then onto the Rosedale Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The newly-laid asphalt surrounding the building gave no hint at what lay beneath—a massive 10-metre deep concrete dry well sitting alongside a similar concrete wet well.
The new pump station and tank began operating in January this year, and since then, there have been no wet-weather overflows into Shoal Bay. Usually, there are about six wet-weather overflows per year during heavy rain events, but none have occurred since having the new infrastructure in operation.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said, “It’s simply not acceptable that wastewater was regularly overflowing into Shoal Bay as often six times a year. Now, with the storage tank at Fred Thomas Drive, wastewater overflows will be dramatically reduced.”
“Despite severe weather events this year and the worst storm in a decade, the new system has allowed us to avoid wastewater overflows into the Bay. The large investment we are making in our stormwater and wastewater infrastructure will restore our right to enjoy clean beaches and waterways to swim in.
“On the North Shore alone, more than $1 billion is being invested in new and improved wastewater infrastructure to cater for the huge population growth in the area. This work complements significant investment across the Auckland region in our stormwater and wastewater systems that will allow our city to grow and help clean-up our beaches."
The Fred Thomas Drive Storage Tank and Pump Station will help enhance the environment by reducing wastewater overflows onto North Shore beaches. It also increases the capacity of the wastewater system to cater for the population growth in the Devonport Peninsular and East Takapuna areas, expected to nearly double to around 40,000 by 2050.
The current wastewater pump station in Barry’s Point Road can store 520,000 litres, but the new storage tanks at Fred Thomas Drive contain 3.5-million litres—representing a significant improvement in wastewater capacity. The new pump station is bigger and more effective too, pumping 530 litres of wastewater per second compared to 325 litres per second at the old site.
North Shore Councillor Chris Darby notes the importance of matching population growth with modern infrastructure: “The Shore is edged by fabulous beaches and bays that will be enjoyed by the community now and for generations to come. We’re making sure we safeguard and enhance our beautiful blue environment for people and nature.”
Ward councillor Richard Hills agrees: “We’re working really hard to upgrade our infrastructure and make room for more people. This multi-million dollar wastewater station means an immediate improvement to the coastal environment surrounding our community.”
While the main construction work took place in Fred Tomas Drive, a new wastewater rising main was simultaneously installed along Taharoto Road and Karaka Street.
Watercare project manager, Jason Salmon thanks motorists for their patience during construction: “We’ve tried our best to minimise disruption for people, but accept it can be frustrating.
“This is just one of many wastewater upgrades Watercare planned for the North Shore. A new wastewater pipeline in Wairau Road is due for completion at the end of July and work is about to begin on a new pump station there also. The benefits of these wastewater upgrades will be worth it and felt for many years to come.”