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Invercargill City Council confirms $11.5 million upgrade for Branxholme plant


The Invercargill City Council has confirmed a $11.5 million upgrade of the Branxholme water treatment plant to provide Invercargill and Bluff residents with cleaner drinking water.

UGL Ltd, formerly known as United Group Ltd, was confirmed as the tender winner on Monday. 

Branxholme plantThe upgrade of the Branxholme plant was discussed at a meeting of the council's infrastructure and services committee on Monday as a public excluded agenda item. 

In February council water manager Alister Murray said water quality had dropped, especially from December to March when it developed an "earthy" taste.

In a statement on released on Monday Murray said the council wanted to improve the performance of the plant to meet modern expectations of palatable water.

Branxholme's current water treatment struggled to meet the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards, the statement said. 

Murray said the council currently sourced water from the Oreti River.

"Like all waterways in New Zealand, it may potentially contain organisms such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium." 

The risk of Oreti River carrying the organisms was reviewed every five years. Future risk could be reclassified higher, which meant the plant would need to operate at a higher level, Murray said. 

"Over the last two years council has examined the plant's short-comings and identified 13 options for Branxholme, of which a preferred option was chosen. 

"Water testing and pilot trials were conducted to prove the suitability of this option." 

Council selected the tender offer from UGL to carry out the works for the amount of $9,701,060, Murray said.

"UGL intends to use local businesses and trade in the construction process."

The cost was budgeted into the council's long-term plan 2015/2025.

The total cost to complete the project was estimated at $11.5 million which included council undertaking some of the work using its own resources, Murray said. 

"The upgrade will produce water that is clearer and more sparkling than before, free from the muddy taste and smell," Murray said. 

The Branxholme upgrade is expected to be completed in March 2017.