Resource consents are permits that allow Tauranga City Council to use or take water and to allow the discharge of water or wastes into air, water or onto land. They include special conditions to protect the environment. These consented activities are monitored to make sure that the conditions are being met.
The City's Wastewater system consents were granted in October 2005 and April 2006.
The system was chosen in 1990 after five years of intensive work by Council with key stakeholders, tangata whenua and the wider community. The system was chosen because it will serve the people of Tauranga for the next 30+ years and is flexible enough to adapt to changes in technology as they become available.
The original discharge outfall into the Otumoetai Channel has been sealed and no longer discharges to the Tauranga Harbour. The treated wastewater flow is passed through wetlands at Te Maunga before being discharged via the ocean outfall 950m off shore.
The resource consents include a comprehensive set of conditions that require the Council to regularly monitor the discharges from the wastewater treatment plants for any effects on the environment. An extensive monitoring programme is required for the discharge of treated wastewater to the Pacific Ocean. This includes:
- monitoring the amount and flow rates of the treated wastewater discharge
- monitoring the treated wastewater quality. This includes 20 different types of tests
- testing the Pacific Ocean receiving waters at 9 locations for microbiological levels
- testing shellfish for microbiological and trace metal levels
- every 10 years the Council must undertake a comprehensive ecological survey of marine life and sediments in the vicinity of the outfall.
Monitoring is also required for air discharge consents from the Chapel Street and Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plants, including monitoring conditions that require the Council to:
- maintain an odour complaints register
- periodically undertake odour measurements at specified locations
- walk around both treatment plants once a month to inspect for any odours
- biennial odour survey of the communities around both the Chapel Street and Te Maunga treatment plants
The resource consents include conditions that require the Council to undertake periodic reviews of the effects of the wastewater systems, technological developments in wastewater treatment and disposal and wastewater reuse systems and techniques.
The Tauranga City Council Wastewater Management Review Committee is responsible for this reporting. Membership of the Committee comprises equal numbers of Tauranga City Councillors and representatives of tangata whenua. The main functions of the committee are to recommend future Council actions on wastewater management, treatment and disposal options and make decisions about the application of the Environmental Mitigation and Enhancement Fund.