Ōpōtiki District Council holds a resource consent issued by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to discharge treated wastewater from the Ōpōtiki Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) on to land adjacent to the Waioeka Estuary.

For the purpose of discharging secondary treated sewage via soakage trenches to land adjacent to the Waioeka Estuary.
Granted: 26 August 2005
Expires: 31 July 2025

The consent expires in 2025 and council is seeking a new consent with new conditions. Alongside this process council will also consider upgrade and development options to its current wastewater discharge scheme.

Our wastewater treatment facilities have served the Ōpōtiki community well, however the current setup is under a lot of pressure. It will not be up to the task of serving our communities future needs in its current state.

Council wants to make improvements within the next couple of years to address the challenges we face now, while also planning how the infrastructure will serve us 50 years on and provide better outcomes for our community and the environment.


In the 1990’s community consultation determined that direct discharge of wastewater (treated or not) to water (ocean outfall or river) to be an unacceptable option and that land disposal was preferred.

Accordingly, our wastewater treatment scheme discharges to land which is generally considered a more beneficial way to discharge effluent, both from a cultural and environmental perspective.

Our current discharge scheme includes:

  • The discharge of treated wastewater from oxidation ponds to the sand dunes;
  • The discharge of odour from oxidation ponds.

Why is the WWTP in this location?

The current location of the Wastewater Treatment Plant was selected because:

  • Of its proximity to existing infrastructure/setup.
  • It has favorable soil characteristics, ideal for absorbing treated water.
  • There is no housing making it a low human activity area.
  • It is downstream of the current network which aids the flow and function of the system.
  • It is far from existing potable water supply sources.
  • The flow effects during a flood event, would not bring wastewater into the township.

What will be assessed?

Within the consent process, and incorporating planning for future growth there are factors which will need to be assessed including:

  • Treated effluent quality requirements, that are environmentally, socially, culturally and economically acceptable for the receiving environment;
  • Land area constraints for any upgrading or upsizing of ponds and treatment infrastructure on the current site;
  • Amenity expectations and requirements relating to wastewater treatment infrastructure at the current location;
  • Hydraulic capacity loading limitations of the current receiving environment;
  • Natural hazard risks; and
  • Environmental, social and cultural acceptability of discharging to the current receiving environment.

Should it be found that the current discharge arrangement is not desirable, then alternative options, methods or locations for any part of that infrastructure may need to be considered.

This won't necessarily mean the existing site should be abandoned, but we would explore the relative advantages and disadvantages of other sites compared to improvements to the existing.