News | 3 November 2023
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Moving mountains for community projects

They say that you shouldn’t make a mountain out of a mole hill – but no one said not to turn a hill into a construction laydown area for the Moa Point sludge minimisation facility.

Hillock removal at Moa Point.

Construction is currently underway at Moa Point for the sludge minimisation facility, which will reduce the volume of sludge produced by our city by up to 80 percent per year and allow us to dramatically reduce waste to landfill.

The facility is being built in a compact spot which borders the Wellington International Airport, where a hillock was separating the construction site from airport buildings. 

To aid in the construction, plans were made for the hillock to be removed so it could be used by the airport as a ground support facility, but in the meantime it will be used as a construction laydown area while the facility is being built. 

Excavation of the hill began in August and was expected to take until early 2024. The team has been chipping away at the hillock and then transporting the rock to various locations. 

With over 23 trucks operating each day and a total of 10,000 trips, the work has been done well ahead of time. Nearly 80,000m3 of rock has been transported to various locations to be reused, says Project Manager for the McConnnell Dowell-HEB Construction Joint Venture doing the construction, Peter Hodgson.

“This project is all about sustainability – significantly improving how we deal with the biosolids in our wastewater, so it’s important that the way we construct it contributes to the outcome too. We worked closely with industry partners to find the best ways to reuse the rock to provide the best benefit.  

“Approximately half of the rock has gone to the St Patrick's College trust as clean fill to create land for housing to address our chronic housing shortage. The project is intended to support the St Patrick's College trust to provide opportunities to under-privileged young men."

Yellow digger picking up rocks at the work site.

The other portion has gone towards the Southern Landfill to be used for construction and maintenance work such as roads and access tracks. Some of the rocks have been used to supply different projects around the region, such as construction and maintenance at other landfills, and for the Silverstream pipe bridge project.

The new facility, expected to be finished in 2026, is a crucial investment for our community, designed to meet waste sludge minimisation and carbon emissions goals, thereby creating a healthier environment for us all.

The new product will be much easier to transport, and we won’t need to pipe raw sludge 9km through the city to Southern Landfill to be partially dried and buried in waste anymore. 

In July 2024, a levy will be introduced to ratepayers as part of a financing initiative to support the construction of our new Moa Point sludge minimisation facility. 

Find out more about the project here