Sep 6th 2019 /

Westland’s new owners commit to $26 million to Ocean Outfall project

Westland Milk products Chief Executive Toni Brendish has confirmed that the Hokitika-based dairy company will proceed with a $26million treated wastewater ocean outfall project.

Ms Brendish said that investment in the ocean outfall will help ensure the long-term sustainability of Westland’s operations in Hokitika and provide a more environmentally sustainable solution to the dairy company’s wastewater disposal needs.

She confirmed that Westland Milk Products has discussed with Westland District Council the possibility that the council can join the scheme to meet the council’s need for an upgrade of its sewage treatment outfall.

“The final details are still to be confirmed,” Ms Brendish said, “however joining Westland’s ocean outfall scheme will produce a substantial saving for the council compared with having to build its own outfall. This will save Hokitika ratepayers millions of dollars.”

Westland has only recently awarded the contracts for the ocean outfall project.

“I’m pleased to say a substantial component of the contract, amounting to many millions of dollars, has been let to Hokitika-based West Roads. This is great news for them, their staff and the local economy,” Ms Brendish said. “Hokitika will also benefit from the fact that other contractors will be bringing staff in to the area for extended periods while the outfall is built. They will be spending on accommodation, food and entertainment while they are in town.”

Westland currently discharges its treated wastewater into the Hokitika River close to its factory site. The resource consent allowing this discharge is due to expire and the company took the opportunity to find a more acceptable environmental solution, and a more sustainable system.

“There are two concerns with the current Hokitika River discharge,” Ms Brendish said. “One is that increased environmental awareness and our commitment to sustainable dairying means the river discharge is no longer desirable. We looked at a lot of options before deciding that the ocean outfall is the best solution. Wave action is continuous high energy and will break down, very rapidly, what is already a non-toxic treated discharge. No impact on the marine environment and ocean wildlife is expected. 

“The other issue is that shingle build up over the years means the Hokitika River is now very much more unpredictable. Irregularity in flows and regular erosion means that the receiving river environment is becoming more sensitive. Together with significant maintenance costs and protecting infrastructure, the continuation of a river discharge is both environmentally unsuitable and too costly.  An ocean outfall will be engineered to be sustainable over the long term,” she said.

Ms Brendish said the project has been updated to meet local concerns regarding potential disturbance of breeding colonies of little blue penguin, and to reduce the visual impact of the outfall.

The project will see a treated wastewater pipe taken underground from the Hokitika factory to a beach site just behind the dunes close to Hokitika’s sewage ponds. From there an outfall pipe will be driven underground, passing under the dunes and beachfront to emerge underwater well out to sea. There will be no pier or other visible structure crossing the beach and the outflow itself, being underwater, will not be visible. The sub-surface outlet means the risk of disturbance to little blue penguin will be negligible during construction and have no impact once completed.

If Westland District Council confirms that it will join the scheme, its outlet will combine with Westland’s at a mixing chamber where the land-pipe and ocean outfall pipe meet behind the beach. At that point both discharges can be separately monitored for regulatory and quality management purposes, before the combined outflow is piped underground to emerge underwater about 800metres from the beach.

Construction of the ocean outfall will comprise of two ‘packages’: Land-based, from the factory to the beach front; and sea based, from the beach front out to sea.

·         Package 1 Physical works begin September 2019 due for completion December 2020

·         Package 2 Physical works begin March 2020, due for completion February 2021

·         Commissioning completed January February 2021

·         Ocean Outfall discharge commences February 2021

·         Existing river discharge ceases March 2021


For further inquiries contact:
Steve Attwood – Communications Manager
C:       027 419 1080
E:       [email protected]

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