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Wastewater project challenge for Council engineer

Technical Support Project Engineer Trent Deakin overseeing the Ongare Point wastewater project.

A bold career change at the age of 35, took Trent Deakin from a call centre desk to his first gig as a project engineer managing a key project for Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Qualifying at the age of 40 with a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil) and Diploma of Management, Trent discovered that the job market was tough. Firms were seeking engineers with track records – not a fresh graduate in his 40s.

However, his application to Council for a trade waste technician’s job, caught the eye of Council’s Utilities Manager Kelvin Hill who spotted a greater talent and appointed Trent to the position of Technical Support Project Engineer.

Three years into the job and Trent is loving it.

He is managing the Ongare Point community wastewater scheme – a project that is converting wastewater disposal on 60 properties in the harbourside community from septic tanks to a reticulated community scheme.

The scheme is being built to comply with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Effluent Treatment Plan. Ongare Point’s low-lying nature and high groundwater increases the risk of contamination by septic tank leakage into Tauranga Harbour.

Aerial photo of Ongare Point community wastewater treatment plant.

Each of the 60 properties will have a 4000 litre tank on site for solids and a reticulated system that takes the greywater to a new treatment station built on Council-owned land about two kilometres away.

The $2.1 million (ex GST) project is jointly funded by Western Bay of Plenty District Council ($1.04m) Bay of Plenty Regional Council ($718,000) and the 60 individual property owners who will each pay $11,300 toward the cost – a total contribution of $656,000.

The on-site property and reticulation work is being done by Loveridge Limited and the treatment station is being constructed by Innoflow Technologies Ltd.

The project is scheduled to be completed in October/November.

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