Pump station for Ōhakea/Sanson wastewater pipeline commissioned

The Manawatū Wastewater Centralisation Project has reached a significant milestone, with the commissioning of the main pump station for the Sanson/Ōhakea to Feilding pipeline on Thursday, 27 April.

The first pipeline between Sanson/Ōhakea and Feilding was completed in 2022 and is approximately 14 kilometres in length. With the main pump station completed, there are two smaller pump stations to commission. The commissioning process involves testing to ensure that the station is up to standard and can operate at the capacity it is designed for.

Council’s Utilities Delivery Manager Michael Taylor says that because the new wastewater system needs to work continuously the testing involved is very important

“Once we start pumping wastewater from Sanson to Feilding it has to work every day of the year. Any issues that we run into will impact on residents using the pipeline, so our testing is very intensive to ensure that we have everything right before we press go.”

Project Engineer Cassandra Yang says that the pump stations will be used to push the wastewater up towards Mt Stewart, which poses challenge due to its height.

“Mt Stewart sits approximately 85m higher than Sanson itself, so we need enough pressure to ensure that the water can reach the summit. But once it does, gravity does the rest to carry it through to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.”

When the overall project is complete, residents from Rongotea, Halcombe, Awahuri, Cheltenham and Kimbolton will also see their wastewater piped to the Manawatū Wastewater Treatment Plant in Feilding, instead of into their own village ponds. This will lead to better environmental and economic outcomes says Michael.

“It’s very expensive to run smaller wastewater treatment plants that some of these villages have. There’s the operational costs, materials and labour, as well as resource consents that have to be renewed and if you’re doing that for five or six villages it all adds up.

“We’ve built in capacity to the Manawatū Wastewater Treatment Plant through recent upgrades so that we can take in the wastewater that these villages produce as well. We’ve implemented and are implementing things like irrigation and wetlands discharge that will see less treated wastewater discharged into the river.”

The first flush from the pipeline is due to take place in August, with work on the Rongotea to Feilding section continuing to take place.

To hear more about the project, check out Michael and Cass' episode of What Have You Done For Us Lately?