Council fast tracks Methven water treatment upgrades

Published: 30 July 2021

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Ashburton District Councillors have approved up to $9.4 million to improve Methven’s drinking water – an upgrade that will commission detailed plans for a new membrane treatment plant, and build two new reservoirs to help meet peak demand on the scheme.

The decisions on Wednesday (28 July) included the fast-tracking of a new treatment plant worth $7.7 million, and the new reservoirs worth $1.7 million.

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown said the new membrane treatment plant, which will treat water for the Methven and Methven Springfield schemes, will mean boil water notices are a thing of the past.

“These upgrades are great news. We had already planned for some of the work and now we have brought it forward to meet the needs of the community.”

The town’s water comes from a shallow groundwater intake near the north branch of the Ashburton River and water quality can be impacted during significant rainfall.

The new plant will be able to treat the water and filter it potentially at a molecular level. The water would then be held in the two new reservoirs, with a combined capacity of 1,128 cubic metres, for distribution to Methven residents.

Design of the membrane treatment plant scheduled for this year could take nine months but Councillors on Wednesday brought forward physical works budgets from year 2 and 3 so that key components needed for the plant could be purchased earlier and shipped.

Councillors opted for the new membrane treatment plant after considering a report on the feasibility of one combined water treatment plant for the Methven, Methven Springfield, Montalto, Mount Somers, and Mayfield schemes, which determined the solution not financially viable.

Councillors opted for an alternate recommendation in the report for a combined Methven and Methven-Springfield plant which would be more feasible.

Councillors also awarded a contract to Reliant Solutions to build two new reservoirs at the existing treatment plant 4km from Methven.

The contract, worth $1.7 million, involves earthworks, pipe laying, access tracks and fencing and installation of the reservoirs.

The existing concrete reservoir at the plant has been deemed an earthquake risk and will not be used once the two new reservoirs are in place.

The new tanks are made of special glass-fused steel and will be imported from the UK.

The construction and installation project for the new reservoirs is expected to take nine months.

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