Amid working remotely, keeping the kids occupied and supermarket trips, one thing you don’t have to worry about is drinking water and the loo continuing to flush.
NPDC’s water and wastewater treatment team is on the job, continuing to deliver this essential service in unprecedented times. Each day it provides drinking water to around 28,000 homes/businesses and provides wastewater services to around 26,000 properties.
We’ve divided our water and wastewater teams into two, with teams working week about. Often, these staff members won’t see each other for long periods. One person is on-site at the Treatment Plants, one is off-site looking after the other treatment plants or pump stations in Inglewood, Oakura and Okato. Then we’ve got people taking regular water samples to make sure our high water-quality standards are being met. We also have a staff member on-call overnight who can operate the plants from their laptop, if necessary.
When they’re not on-shift, our technicians are isolating themselves at home, just like everyone else. Anyone who doesn’t have to be at the New Plymouth Water or Wastewater Treatment Plants isn’t allowed on-site – not even the cleaners. Our staff members are doing their own cleaning, including wiping down their computer keyboards each day.
All staff have separate vehicles – no sharing allowed – and when materials need to be picked up at the plant the car driver opens the vehicle’s boot and steps away before a second staff member deposits the materials inside. Where practical, all hard surfaces – including those of deliveries and pick-ups – are wiped down between handling.
“We keep our water technicians in their bubbles and minimise their risk of getting sick,” says NPDC Manager Three Waters Mark Hall. “They’re working longer hours than usual each day and with our new roster they don’t have to share the same space.”
As much as the staff are keeping apart from each other physically, we keep in touch throughout the day virtually. The team’s coordinators, who are working from home, talk with the water technicians at the plants several times a day.
Page last updated: 10:12AM Fri 06 August 2021