Views sought on wastewater treatment plant

Published on 03 April 2021

Wastewater Treatment Plant

The discharge consent for Whangārei’s largest wastewater treatment plant will expire in 2022 so Whangarei District Council is applying for its renewal by Northland Regional Council. 

“Our goal is to provide the best waste treatment service to the community that we can, with the least impact on the surrounding environment,” said Council’s Waste and Drainage Manager Simon Charles. 

“The Wastewater Treatment Plant on Kioreroa Road is the largest wastewater processor for Whangārei. Each day it treats around 21,000 cubic metres of wastewater from homes and businesses in Whangārei’s main urban area, from Kamo in the north, Maunu in the west, Raumanga in the south to Onerahi and Whangārei Heads in the east. It has a replacement value of $65 million.

“We are inviting people to fill in a short survey, telling us what issues they feel are most important. This input will help us as we develop our consent application.”

Have Your Say

Mr Charles said local hapū and other groups such as Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, Fish and Game, Northland District Health Board and the Whangārei Harbour Advisory Catchment Group would also be involved in the consenting process.

Will the conditions of the new consent be the same as the existing consent?

Broadly speaking, yes, but with more focus on the environment. We aim to maintain or improve the quality of our discharge throughout the life of the consent, and to make it easier to monitor how we are achieving this. We will also be considering things like future growth, changing regulations and climate change.

The maximum amount of wastewater we are allowed to discharge is expected to stay the same, at 140,000 cubic metres a day. At the moment, we process around 21,000 cubic metres on a normal day but this increases during heavy rainfall.

We are planning to apply for a 35-year consent.

Does untreated water still go into the harbour during storms?

Untreated water does not go into the harbour from the wastewater treatment plant.

When it rains, extra water enters the wastewater system and the plant struggles to cope with the higher flow. On a normal day, discharged water goes through a full treatment process but during storms this process is shortened. During storms, wastewater (as a minimum) undergoes screening, settlement, disinfection (ultraviolet light) and wetland treatment.