Work has started on a major upgrade of the Braemar Water Treatment Plant to ensure the water it produces remains safe to drink.

The plant provides water to communities across the Rangitāiki Plains from the Tarawera River to just outside the Whakatāne township.

Whakatāne District Council Team Leader Capital Works Jim Finlay said, in its natural state, the water from the Braemar Spring doesn’t align with New Zealand Drinking Water Standards, which is why Council is building a new innovative treatment plant.

“We want to ensure all our people across the district have access to fresh, reliable and affordable water services which support good health and sustainable environmental outcomes.

“This new facility will house new water treatment equipment and an in-ground pump chamber which will contain four new pumps. We’re also moving a section of the access road to the springs, although the entrance will remain the same, and planting native vegetation.

“We applied to the Government for funding for this project from the post-COVID-19 Stimulus Fund, luckily for us we were successful, and we can get this work underway now,” he said.

Mr Finlay said he expects the upgrade will take around a year to complete dependent on factors like COVID-19 and weather. Throughout this time access to the Braemar Pool will remain open.