The annual East Clive wastewater treatment plant open day is a popular event, so popular that a booking system is being introduced this year to help manage visitor numbers safely.

The open day is being held on Saturday, November 14, from 10am to 1pm and will give people a chance to find out how the plant works, from the initial screening to remove the solids, through to the pumping process and eventual treatment process.

A video will be screened showing the way the bugs in the trickling filters work, and people will be able to see samples of the treated wastewater.

This plant was built in 2008/09, at the time a first of its kind in New Zealand for its innovative biological (using bugs that naturally occur in people’s digestive system) trickling filter process, which has the advantage of producing no “sludge” to dispose of to landfill.

What made this a particularly unique project both nationally and internationally was its successful achievement of not only a technical solution but one that met cultural and spiritual aspirations of tangata whenua.

This was aided through the Hastings District Council: Tangata Whenua Wastewater Joint Committee, formed in late 2001 to bring tangata whenua into the decision-making around the plant’s design.

This resulted in the creation of the Rakahore Channel – a collection of rocks the treated human waste flows over for spiritual cleansing and reconnection with papatuanuku, before it is piped 2.7km offshore and discharged into the ocean.

Between 35,000 and 70,000 cubic metres of mostly liquid matter goes through the treatment plant every day. There are larger flows during the height of the horticultural season, from February through to April.

To register to attend the free open day at the Richmond Rd, Clive, plant go to the Hastings District Council website http://www.hastingsdc.govt.nz search #treatmentplant.

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