News | 6 July 2023
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Moa Point sludge facility contract signed

Wellington City Council has this week signed a contract sealing a partnership with a construction joint venture to build the first stage of a critical piece of infrastructure for the city.  

An artistic impression of the new sludge-processing facility at Moa Point.

This partnership with McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd and HEB Construction Ltd will support the Council to build a new sludge minimisation facility at Moa Point – which will reduce the amount of sewage sludge produced from wastewater by between 60 and 80 percent a year and reduce carbon emissions from the treatment process by 60 percent as well.


This is one of the most complex projects the Council will deliver over the next few years and is a critical component of a much wider waste minimisation strategy and the Council’s goal of being a net zero carbon capital by 2050.


It will reduce the volume of treated sludge by the equivalent of 11 Olympic-sized swimming pools, per year.


Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon says this is a massive step in the right direction as the deadline for our goals keeps getting closer.


“As far as environmental issues go, sludge isn’t sexy, but a 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions is!”


“Last year, data showed a decrease in overall emissions in the capital, and we are committed to continue in the right direction with this project alongside on-going investment in cycleways, low carbon transport options planned by Let’s Get Wellington Moving, plus almost $30 million allocated to climate action initiatives in last year’s Long-term Plan.


Currently sludge is mixed with general waste and buried at landfill, so the sludge minimisation facility is a key piece in the puzzle to enable our zero-waste strategy that seeks to massively reduce general waste going to the landfill by 50 percent by 2030.


“Making headway on our capital’s emissions reduction, resilience and care for our environment is the direction we must follow now for now and future generations!”


City Council Chief Infrastructure Officer Siobhan Procter says the signing of the contract is the result of months of work.


“This is a huge infrastructure project, and the first facility of its type in New Zealand. We’re very proud of the fact we have brought such a good team on board that has such vast experience in this field.


“The Council and the joint venture construction team are delighted to be working together in this way for a facility that will bring so many benefits to our city.”


The joint venture’s Project Director, Peter Hodgson, recognises the great potential the sludge minimisation facility will provide for the city of Wellington.


“This is a great opportunity for Wellington and for the wastewater industry in New Zealand. The large scale and complexity of this project will enable opportunities to grow new skills and experience in the workforce and provide a showcase into engineering and construction for the wider community.”


It is proposed the Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act 2020 (IFFA) will provide the majority of the project funding. This is the first time the Council has applied to use the IFFA, and only the second time the tool has been used for an infrastructure project in New Zealand. Funding will be confirmed by early August. 


IFFA funding involves a levy paid by Wellington city ratepayers. The Council consulted on this during the Long-term Plan process in June 2021, and again in early 2022.