East Rotoiti & Rotomā sewerage scheme

14 September, 2020

Following engagement with the community, Rotorua Lakes Council committed in its 2017/18 Annual Plan to construct a reticulated sewerage scheme for East Rotoiti/Rotomā. Properties will be connected to a stand-alone wastewater treatment plant which will treat wastewater to a very high standard before it is discharged to the land. There are about 700 properties in the proposed service area for this scheme, which will replace current septic tanks.

Current Scheme Status

The scheme aims to provide the community with an essential service to responsibly dispose of human waste in a way that is environmentally and culturally appropriate. The scheme includes a Wastewater Treatment Plant, behind the Rotoiti Emery Store, and a reticulation network from the plant to cater for homes in Rotomā and east Rotoiti.

The treatment plant is now operating and treating wastewater to the required standard. Rotoma properties are now connected to the reticulation network and wastewater treated at the plant.

Tenders for an on-site wastewater pre-treatment system to be installed at properties in east Rotoiti, will be undertaken over the next 3 months. Following appointment of a contractor and system Council will engage directly with property owners regarding site location and other relevant site matters. This can only be done after it is known what system will be installed.

Properties will then gradually be connected to the Rotoiti network which has now been largely completed. The contractor undertaking this work has now demobilised from site.

Rotorua Lakes Council supports a full wastewater reticulation and treatment scheme that serves all Lake Rotoehu properties including Kennedy Bay and Ōtautū in future. This will be dependent on securing funding.

Why is this project important?
He aha te tino take o te hinonga?

The East Rotoiti/Rotoma Sewerage Scheme aims to protect the health of the waterways and provide an essential service to the community. The scheme also aligns with the ambition of the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme, to protect and restore the water quality of 12 Rotorua lakes so that they can be used and enjoyed by the public today and in future.

Rating and Payments

The capital contribution will not be levied until the scheme is completed and full costs known. This will likely be in two years time (2022). All scheme participants will be levied the same charge. Rotoma properties from 1 July 2020 have been levied the operational charge only,  on their rates demand.

Who has been part of the project development?
Nā wai te hinonga i whakarite?

The project is a collaborative effort by Rotorua Lakes Council, Rotoiti/Rotomā Sewerage Steering Committee, Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Bay of Plenty Regional Council, with funding from the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health.

Finding a preferred option has taken some ten years of work. Council acknowledges the leadership of the Rotoiti Rotomā Sewerage Steering Committee, which has worked tirelessly to identify preferred options, which have led to the development of the scheme. The community-led committee was established in 2014 after the Council’s 2012 resource consent application for its chosen scheme, at the time, failed in by the Environment Court. As a result, Council made a fresh start, working closely with iwi, community groups and the Rotoiti Rotomā Sewerage Steering Committee.

Pātai Putuputu

How did the Rotoiti/Rotomā Sewerage Steering Committee pick a preferred option?

The preferred option was developed over several months with technical, social and cultural input. The committee ensured a preferred option needed to be based on factors such as cultural preference, resilience in the event of earthquakes and technical requirements.

What involvement has the Cultural Impact Team had in the scheme?

It provides specialist knowledge and implements cultural impact assessments for the scheme and the Haumingi 9B 3B Incorporation. The team ensures that cultural concerns are considered and appropriately mitigated in the Council’s planning, design and construction of the East Rotoiti Rotomā Sewerage Scheme. The team also helps Council engage with relevant iwi and Māori entities to address matters that arise.

Where is the Wastewater Treatment Plant?

The plant is on land owned by Haumingi 9B 3B Incorporation, behind the Rotoiti Emery Store (1434 State Highway 30, Rotorua). A designated area near the plant site will be used as the underground infiltration discharge point for the treated water.

How does the Wastewater Treatment Plant work?

Wastewater undergoes a four stage biological process, which removes organic material and nitrogen. The phosphorous in the water is removed through chemical dosing prior to discharge. The plant emulates the natural biological process of digesting waste and aims to reduce the impact of the environment.

What is a STEP system?

STEP stands for Septic Tank Effluent Pumping system. It is an on-site wastewater pre-treatment system.

How does the STEP system work?

The STEP system comprises of a septic tank with a pump. It pre-treats wastewater, which is then pumped to a central piping network and on to a treatment plant. The outflow is highly treated at the treatment plant before it is discharged on to land.

What do I do if I have a concern about the STEP system?

Get in touch with Rotorua Lakes Council on 07 348 4199

How long will it take to install the STEP system?

Each property is different and will have its own unique advantages and challenges, which means we would need to come and visit you to ensure you’re happy with where the system will be located and that we can give you a better idea of how long it will take to install it.
To give you an idea it usually takes about two days to install the STEP system. This includes:
• Decommissioning the existing septic tank (Depending on where it is on your property)
• Connecting new system piping to your home
For properties yet to have an on-site system installed Council will agree with the owner over location and timing to install the system.

Who will be responsible for maintaining the STEP system?

Maintenance of the STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) system will be carried out by Council.

What wastewater pre-treatment system will be installed in Rotoiti?

Council is yet to tender the on-site systems for the Rotoiti area. Only when that tender process is complete and a supplier appointed can Council discuss with property owners details of on-site arrangements.

Ngā Whenua Kahupapa Hai Tiaki i ngā Rotomoana

Rotorua Lakes Council is now looking for approval from landowners to install pipes required to connect properties to the new treatment plant. RLC held three hui-ā-hapū with Māori land owners and trustees in October 2020.

Click here to find out more.