East Rotoiti | Rotomā Wastewater Treatment Plant commissioning

12 August 2019

East Rotoiti | Rotomā Wastewater Treatment Plant commissioning

Today saw the official commissioning of the East Rotoiti | Rotomā Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This included a pōhiri at Taurua Marae with key stakeholders and a tour of the new plant.

The plant is scheduled to accept wastewater later this month.

The construction of the wastewater treatment plant is part of the East Rotoiti | Rotomā Sewerage Scheme. The scheme is part of the Lakes Enhancement Programme jointly managed by the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Rotorua Lakes Council. The scheme demonstrates Council’s commitment to work with partners to improve the water quality of Rotorua’s lakes which have been slowly deteriorating over a number of years. The degradation of water quality is a result of nutrient and bacterial inputs from septic tanks, farming and soil erosion in surrounding areas.

The sewerage scheme aims to protect and improve the health of the lakes and individual properties in the area by providing the community with an essential service to responsibly dispose of wastewatwr in a way that is environmentally and culturally appropriate.

At the commissioning, Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick spoke about the history of the complex project and the positive outcome that has resulted.

“The health of our water is about the health of the people and the health of the land, and today marks a key milestone on this journey.

“Sustainability and how we look after our natural assets couldn’t be more important to us as a Council. As we look to the future, we are so dependent on the good health of our lakes.

“Conversations to improve the water quality of our lakes began a long time ago. Lake Rotoiti was identified as one of our most vulnerable lakes and the discussions that followed sparked the growth and strengthening of Council’s relationship with iwi.

“Working in partnership is enormously important as we continue down this path. The work under way here in Rotoiti to protect our water and land is both deeply spiritual and enormously practical, and it is symbolic of the investment in our relationship with iwi.”

The East Rotoiti | Rotomā Sewerage Scheme project has been led by the Rotoiti Rotomā Sewerage Steering Committee since its inception in 2014 after Council's resource consent for its chosen scheme, at the time, failed in the Environment Court in 2012.

Since then, finding preferred options for the community has been a collaborative effort by Rotorua Lakes Council, and local iwi. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry for the Environment supported the scheme financially in recognition of the environmental and public health benefits of the scheme.

The scheme involves the construction of the Wastewater Treatment Plant behind the Rotoiti Emery Store and the installation of a reticulation network to the plant to cater for homes in Rotomā and east Rotoiti.

Rotomā properties will initially be connected to the reticulation network via the on-site Septic Tank Effluent Pumping (STEP) systems that they have previously had installed. An on-site wastewater pre-treatment system will later be installed at properties in east Rotoiti. These properties will then also be connected to the reticulation network which runs to the wastewater treatment plant.

To date, $24.5 million of a $35.3 million budget has been invested in the project.

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

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