A major upgrade to the McAlister Street stormwater pump station has reached its final stage, with modifications to the existing pump house structure being undertaken over the next four months. This follows the installation of a new 20-metre long box culvert through the stopbank that was completed during the summer.

Whakatāne District Council General Manager Infrastructure, Tomasz Krawczyk, says the final stage of the upgrade will see major modifications to the pump house and during this time, auxiliary pumps will be used to control water flows. “The pump station will only have 30% of its usual operational capacity while the modifications are being undertaken, so we have two tractor-driven pumps onsite as backup,” he says. “This really is the most important and technically challenging part of the project, and while progress has been complicated by the recent flood events, our project flood contingency plans worked well, with only minor stormwater issues experienced.”

Mr Krawczyk says the cost of the project is almost $3.4 million, but adds that the McAlister Street pump station is a vital component of the town’s infrastructure.

“This is the first major upgrade to the pump station since its construction in the mid-1960s,” he says, “and when completed, it will nearly double our pumping capacity, from 3.2 to nearly 6 cubic metres per second. The gravity discharge through the box culvert will double that capacity, when the river level is below the discharge point, so it’s certainly a very useful long-term investment.

“We know the closure of this section of the Warren Cole Walkway during the project has been an inconvenience to many people, and would like to thank the public for their patience.”

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