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Tauranga has two wastewater treatment plants. The Chapel Street plant processes wastewater on the city side of the harbour bridge and the Te Maunga plant services the Mount and Papamoa. 

They operate slightly differently but both achieve the same high standard of clean, safe water. Neither of Tauranga’s wastewater plants use chemicals in the treatment process.

Chapel Street

The Chapel Street wastewater treatment plant provides treatment for domestic, commercial and industrial communities from the various catchments within the city. 

The plant was built in 1969 at a cost of $1.6 million and was Tauranga’s first wastewater treatment plant. It originally had the capacity to treat 5,900m3 of wastewater daily, the flow from a population of about 20,000 people. The average daily flow in 2020 was 11,800 m3/d.


As wastewater enters the plant it is screened to remove objects such as wet wipes, rags, plastics, tins, wood, stones and grit. Many of these foreign objects are likely to cause blockages, wear within pipes and generally be a nuisance factor within the plant. The wastewater then goes through primary and secondary treatment using an activated sludge process. This is a biological process that achieves a very high quality of water without adding chemicals. Treated effluent is passed through ultra violet light for a final clean then piped to the wetlands at Te Maunga before exiting via the ocean outfall.

Te Maunga

The Te Maunga wastewater treatment plant provides treatment for domestic, commercial and industrial communities from the Mount Maunganui and Papamoa catchments.

The average daily flow to Te Maunga is 18,800m3/d. About 6% of the flow to the plant comes from industry.


Wastewater is screened then treated with a biological process. The treated wastewater flows from the clarifier to an 8 hectare retention pond before passing through a 4 hectare man-made wetland before being pumped out to sea through a 3 kilometre pipe line which extends 950 metres off shore at Omanu. This ocean discharge pipe handles the effluent from both Te Maunga and Chapel St wastewater treatment plants.

Ocean outfall

The Ocean Outfall is a 950m long pipe that discharges the high quality treated wastewater and is located off the Papamoa beach area. The treated wastewater is discharged through a number of ports in the final offshore length, which is called the diffuser. The outfall pipe is buried below the seabed floor. The pipe is 600mm internal diameter. As part of investigations for a resource consent project, the condition and hydraulic capacity of the pipeline are being reviewed.

Environmental Policy

Through the support and commitment of top management, the Wastewater Treatment Plants and Laboratory are committed to:

  • Ensuring all treated wastewater discharged into the ocean, and/or supplied for irrigation purposes, meets on-going resource consent conditions
  • Understanding and measuring the impact we have on the environment
  • Identifying and addressing our environmental impacts
  • Actively promoting recycling both internally and amongst its suppliers and on site maintenance contractors
  • Continual improvement in environmental management
  • Complying with relevant legislation, consents and regulations
  • Using resources efficiently, avoiding non-sustainable practices
  • Using best practical techniques to prevent pollution.

We shall provide a framework that:

  • Enables staff to take ownership as individuals and teams for proper environmental practices at work.
  • Seeks to avoid environmental incidents, but is well prepared to manage them if needed.
  • Educates and informs staff and interested parties of environmental issues, and enlists their support in improving performance.
  • Sets and reviews environmental objectives and targets to measure and monitor progress.
  • Considers the environmental impact and sustainability of our work alongside the operational, financial and social aspects.

Last Reviewed: 10/06/2020

Tauranga City Council, Private Bag 12022, Tauranga, 3143, New Zealand  |  Terms of use  |  Site map

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