Building on New Zealand’s Most Contaminated Site

MWH was presented with an interesting challenge when they started work on the Mapua Wharf wastewater pump station; the site infamous for being the most contaminated site in the country. Eagerly accepting the challenge, MWH completed the iconic project and received a pat on the back for their work as the project won an engineering excellence award at the 2014 IPWEA NZ Excellence Awards.

Due to predicted growth and development of the Mapua region in the Tasman district, Tasman District Council required the existing Mapua Wharf wastewater pump station to be replaced. The new pump station was to be constructed within part of the former location of the Fruitgrowers’ Chemicals Company, once acknowledged as the most contaminated site in New Zealand.

Challenges included designing a pump station which could be constructed without compromising environmental or health and safety standards. In addition, the available construction area was restricted as the site was part of a proposed waterfront park development for the local community. The site was also close to the popular wharf area.

As the history of the site was well publicised, the project was an emotive issue for the local community.

To overcome these unique issues a design was required that could address the challenging constraints and still provide a cost effective and long term solution. In addition to working around the constraints the design had to incorporate the needs of the community.

To read all of the detail of how this challenging project was planned and managed, you can read Avik Halder’s full paper titled “Building on New Zealand’s Most Contaminated Site – The Mapua Wharf Wastewater Pump Station” here.


Avik Halder is the Technical Development Leader (Water and Waste) for MWH in New Zealand. Avik has been active in various projects for Tasman District Council as well as several other NZ Local Government clients since moving to New Zealand in 2006. Previously, he has worked in the United Kingdom and Ireland on a variety of utilities infrastructure projects.

Contact address: MWH 66 Oxford Street, Richmond, New Zealand 7020
Contact e-mail:

Grant Shearer is the Team Leader Central (Civil Water) for MWH in New Zealand. Grant has been involved in a variety of three waters projects for a range of organisations including NZTA, Wellington Water and Tasman District Council over the last 16 years. During this time Grant has also worked in Scotland on a range of water and waste infrastructure projects.

Contact address: MWH L13, 80 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand 6011
Contact e-mail:

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