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Avarua Wharf’s wastewater system installed

Tuesday 7 February 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Avarua Wharf’s wastewater system installed
The new Avarua Wharf Wastewater Improvement system located at the raised coastal space park (across from the Margarita’s Bistro and Bar) in town. MELINA ETCHES/ 23020618

The new Avarua Wharf Wastewater Improvement System located at the Maire Nui Park (across from the Margarita’s Bistro and Bar) in town is completed.

The newly installed wastewater system is surrounded by a wooden fence for security purposes – to keep members of the public out so that the plant will not to be tampered with, says the National Environment Service manager environment compliance, Vavia Tangatataia.

“Access will be restricted to authorised personnel only,” Tangatataia said.

The grass area opposite the Tourism Centre “can and will still be used for particular events” but anywhere very close to the plant will be out of bounds.

Replacing the old wastewater system, the new is to facilitate the existing public toilets located in the Raro Fried Chicken (RFC) building – also referred to as Avarua Wharf Public Toilets.

The treatment tank sits basically below ground level with the top/lid exposed for maintenance purposes only. A pump station is installed at the vicinity of the old septic tank which will pump effluent across the Vaikapuanga stream, some 55 metres to the new system, for treatment and disposal.

The new system is placed underground and to the sides of the current space, adjacent to the armour rock wall.

In May 2022, Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health issued a notice to advise that the Avarua Wharf Public Toilets be temporary closed, and that the existing wastewater system be upgraded to a secondary or advanced treatment system.

Cook Islands Investment Corporation had started excavation work for the new treatment tanks prior to seeking permit from the National Environment Service. A stop work notice for the “regrettable oversight” was issued until a permit was approved.

Work continued following the permit issued by NES.

The project involved – decommissioning the existing “failed” wastewater system, installation of a sealed pump station (chamber) and connecting to the existing public toilets, trenching and installing 55-metre-long “effluent” sewer pressure line and connecting it to the pump station, and excavating and installing the new Activated Waste Treatment (AWT) system – the underground chambers connecting to the sewer pressure line.