Lakeside Community Sewerage Schemes


Rotorua Lakes Council is committed to providing sewerage schemes to service most Rotorua District lakeside communities . The council has also identified sewer servicing options for communities that are not part of the Lakeside Communities Sewerage Scheme Programme.

The programme will connect about 2,300 dwellings currently serviced by conventional septic tank and soakage field systems, with a reticulated sewerage network. Failed septic tanks in lakeside areas have been known to contribute to nutrients entering lake water  and to be the source of faecal contamination which endangers public health. Eliminating these problems is one of the measures necessary to improve water quality of  Rotorua’s major lakes.

 Saving our Lakes

Lake Rotoiti and Lake Rotomā​ Programme

Council continues to engage with the community about a sewerage system for East Rotoiti and Rotoma which aims to protect the health of the lakes, community and ensure its in a way that is culturally appropriate.

A local treatment plant site has been identified and will be built behind the Rotoiti Emery Store (1434 State Highway 30, Rotorua) on land owned by the Haumingi 9B3B Incorporation.  This site will also become home to the land disposal site.   

During 2015, as part of consultation on Council’s Long-term Plan (LTP), information was sent out and meetings held to update the community and help people make informed submissions to the LTP.

A preferred option for a sewerage scheme for East Rotoiti and Rotoma was approved by Council in December 2014. The area the proposed scheme covers is from Curtis Road along SH30 to the Rotoma hills, including side roads. Kennedy Bay and Otautu Bay are not included.

In 2012 the council’s application for resource consent for its then chosen scheme failed in the Environment Court. Council made a fresh start, working closely with iwi and community groups and the Rotoiti/Rotoma Sewerage Steering Committee (RRSSC) which was set up, with Ian McLean as in​dependent chairperson. Iwi, community organisations, local and central government authorities have worked closely to come up with a preferred option.

STEP System Owners Manual  ​

Progress updates about the project can be found at: 

Earlier community updates can be found below: 

 East Rotoiti Rotoma Sewerage Scheme Update December 2017 - Council needs Rotomā occupants help to identify where their STEP system should go on their property

 East Rotoiti Rotoma Sewerage Scheme Update October 2017 - This update includes information about the estimated cost for homeowners and funding contributions to the scheme  
 East Rotoiti Rotoma Sewerage Scheme Update April 2017 - Preferred wastewater treatment systems for Rotoiti and Rotomā  
 East Rotoiti Rotoma Sewerage Scheme Update January 2016 - The purpose of the sewerage scheme
 East Rotoiti Rotoma Sewerage Scheme Update March 2015 - Information to help residents, who wan to make a Long-Term Plan submission  
 East Rotoiti Rotoma Sewerage Scheme FAQs
 More about Biolytix

Tarawera Sewerage Scheme

Work is underway to investigate a reticulated sewerage scheme for the Tarawera community. In late 2016 the Tarawera Sewerage Committee was established at the community’s request, and with support from Council, it will progress the project, secure funding and address community concern about water quality and drinking water.

 Click here to read the January 2018 update
 Click here to read the January 2017 update
 Click here to read the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Suitability of On-Site Effluent Treatment system
 Click here to read the Cultural Impact Assessment report prepared by Te Arawa Lakes Trust


Otautu Bay/Lake Rotoehu

 Minutes of Public Meeting (PDF 215KB) to obtain information for a Waste Water Scheme 4 October 2014

Sewerage Scheme Programme

The table below shows the indicative costs, programmed completion date and current status of implementation for the Lakeside Communities Sewerage Scheme Programme:

​Indicative Cost
​Programmed Completed Date ​Current Project Status
Mourea/Okawa Bay​  $8.9m ​ Completed June 2006 ​ 98% of properties connected ​
 Hinemoa Point
 $1.4m​ Completed July 2008​ 100% of properties connected ​
 Brunswick / Rotokawa  ​  $12.5m ​ Completed November 2009​ 70% of properties connected ​
 Okareka / Blue Lake
$9.7m​ Completed
October 2010 ​
100% of properties connected ​
 Okere Falls /Otaramarae / Whangamarino
$14.7m​ Completed September
99% of properties connected ​
 Gisborne Point/Hinehopu  $15m ​ 2014​ Reticulation design completed. Treatment and disposal options being assessed.​
 Hamurana / Awahou
 $16.6m​  2013​  99% of properties connected ​
 Tarawera  $13.8m​  2014 ​ Detailed feasibility study completed. Community consultation to start soon. ​
 Rotoma  $12.4m ​ 2015​  Detailed design completed.  Treatment and disposal options being assessed.
Maps showing the service areas for the above schemes are attached (LTCCP maps).

Scheme Funding

The capital cost of the proposed sewerage schemes is covered in part by a 50% subsidy from Central Government; through the Ministry of Health for Mourea /Okawa Bay) and the Ministry for the Environment (for Brunswick/Rotokawa, Okareka/Blue Lake, Okere Falls/Otaramarae/Whangamarino, Gisborne Point/Hinehopu and Hamurana/Awahou). Further subsidy applications will be made to Central Government for Rotoma and Tarawera lakes.

The remainder of capital costs will be funded by a combination of Environment Bay of Plenty grants, commercial users’ contributions, Rotorua Lakes Council general rates and individual ratepayer contributions.

Low Pressure Grinder Pump (LPGP) Systems

Communities in the Lakeside Communities Sewerage Scheme programme generally have difficult topography and high groundwater levels on lakeside properties. This means high costs for laying pipes because of the extensive use of dewatering equipment and disturbance of properties from open trench excavations. This was highlighted during construction of a conventional gravity system at Mourea/Okawa Bay. As a result, Council investigated other sewer servicing options that would be preferable to conventional gravity systems.

The evaluation process revealed that Low Pressure Grinder Pump systems are the best alternative because of cost and environmental considerations.

I​mplementation of New Zealand’s first community-wide Low Pressure Grinder Pump system has been completed at Hinemoa Point.  This system will connect 60 existing properties and a Marae to the community sewer system and also allows for  future development in the area.

Installation of 40 unit LPGP system at  Brunswick/Rotokawa area, and all of the  Okareka/Blue Lake and Okere Falls/Otaramarae/Whangamarino communities have been connected to the Low Pressure Grinder Pump systems.

 Diagram of a Low Pressure Grinder System
 Low Pressure Grinder System
 LPGP Owner and Occupier's Manual
 LPGP Do's and Don't's

Other Areas Being Considered for the Sewerage Scheme Programme

A study has been undertaken to establish sewering options for communities not currently included in the sewerage programme. Planning and detailed investigations of a proposed sewerage scheme would proceed if most people in the following communities support proposals:

  • Mamaku
  • Kennedy Bay/Otautu Bay
  • Clayton / Mountain Road
  • Fairy Springs

Feasibility studies of these communities will be assessed in 2013/2014

If you have further queries on the above please contact Greg Manzano at Rotorua Lakes Council on 07 348 4199. ​​

Page reviewed: 03 Dec 2019 4:30pm