Waitaki District Council in New Zealand Upgrades Oamaru Water Treatment Plant with Advanced Technology from GE

The Waitaki District Council in New Zealand recently celebrated the upgrade of the Oamaru Water Treatment Plant, which will use innovative water filtration technology from GE to increase plant capacity by 25 percent. The upgrade is part of a broader commitment by the council to provide high-quality drinking water to the growing local population.

The plant currently supplies water to 14,400 residents of Oamaru, Weston, Enfield and Kakanui, with plans to connect more than 1,000 new residents in the coming years. The plant now uses ZeeWeed* 1000 R-1 membrane technology from GE to meet growing demand and allow for flexibility to add further capacity in the future.

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher officially re-opened the plant at a community event to celebrate the upgrade. He said, “Providing a sustainable supply of clean, quality drinking water is core business and a major priority for the council, and I’m proud to say that in partnership with GE, we will be able to supply more people with clean water without increasing costs. It is critical that we have a reliable solution to meet our growing needs for years to come, and I’m confident that we have found that with this advanced technology.”

Membrane filtration is a process where water is drawn through millions of very small—two one- hundred-thousandths of a millimeter—holes in order to collect and remove impurities. The ZeeWeed membrane technology provides an unparalleled degree of filtration with perforations that are 400 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

GE’s ZeeWeed technology will increase the lifespan of membranes by 30 percent, from seven years to 10 years, and save an estimated NZ$300,000 in purchase costs when compared with “like for like” replacement as well as NZ$100,000 annually in depreciation and operating costs.

Plants fitted with ZeeWeed technology have been supplying drinking water to Auckland and Nelson for more than a decade, and more recently the technology was introduced at a wastewater treatment plant in Rotorua.

Irshaad Hakim, regional executive for GE’s water business, said that he was looking forward to continuing to work with the council to secure its future water needs. “We congratulate the council and Mayor Kircher on the reopening of this advanced facility for Waitaki. We are proud to have our ZeeWeed technology support its upgrade—one that will help the council save NZ$400,000, consume less energy and produce 25 percent more high-quality drinking water for residents in the area.”

The Waitaki District Council also added GE’s Industrial Internet-driven InSight* Pro – Process Consulting Service to the water treatment plant, which automatically collects data on water process and quality from the new membrane system and converts it into graphical reports. A GE process specialist is assigned to work with Oamaru to monitor the data and assist the operators with interpreting the results to ensure the most efficient operation of the plant.