Sewage sludge a bonus for local businesses

Featured news News Local Our Work

Taranaki firms - Dialogue Fitzroy Ltd, JLE Ltd, and Street & Cook Construction - are set to benefit from the multi-million-dollar project to replace the ageing thermal dryer facility at NPDC’s New Plymouth Wastewater Treatment plant which kicked off last week.

The $69.5 million upgrade, of which $37m is funded by the Government, replaces the 20-year-old facility that turns sewage sludge into fertiliser and sees up to 25 per cent of the natural gas used to run the dryer, replaced by hydrogen.

“One of our key goals in this project is to support Taranaki’s superb engineering and construction industries by using local firms wherever possible,” says NPDC Manager Infrastructure Projects Andrew Barron.

Using hydrogen to help power the thermal dryer will build on the plant’s environmental standing as the creator of Bioboost®, a dry and nutrient-rich fertiliser that’s sold around New Zealand.

“Bioboost® not only turns excess sludge – microorganisms that eat wastewater – into a valuable product but it also means we aren’t paying to dispose of sludge in a landfill,” says Andrew.

Downer is the main contractor for the project.


Fast facts

  • Every year, NPDC treats about 10.8 million cubic metres of wastewater – up to 4,300 Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth – through the New Plymouth Wastewater Treatment Plant (NPWWTP).
  • The NPWWTP reuses 500,000 litres of treated effluent every day to run the plant instead of using regular drinking water.
  • Bioboost is certified to the international quality management systems standard (ISO 9001), and has won the following awards:
    • 2002: New Zealand Post Management Excellence Award.
    • 2001: Taranaki Regional Council Environmental Award.
    • 2001: The KPMG Innovation Supreme Award and the Local Government Section award.


Caption: Artist impression of the thermal dryer at New Plymouth’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.