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PROJECT 2 | Pōrangahau and Te Paerahi Wastewater System Upgrades


The Pōrangahau and Te Paerahi Wastewater Treatment Plants’ consents expired in 2021. Conditions of these consents were that Council remove the existing Te Paerahi Treatment Plant and discharge from its current site, and cease discharge into the Pōrangahau River. Since 2018, Council has been discussing with the community how this should happen. It became clear that continuation of the current system is no longer an option. In August 2021, following the adoption of the Long-Term Plan, Council formally lodged its resource consent application with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

What is the existing wastewater network?

Map base v2 5 Porangahau Existing

What is proposed in the future?

The proposed changes within the consents seek a long-term, environmentally responsible approach where treated wastewater will be irrigated onto land, allowing time for soil absorption and plant growth. This will be the second project of its kind in Central Hawke’s Bay as part of the ambitions and vision laid out in the Wastewater Strategy, the first being Takapau. 

Broken down into three stages, the proposed changes to the current wastewater system are recommended to roll out over a nine-year period.  

  • Stage 1 will see an irrigation system installed at the new site followed by pipeline installed from the Te Paerahi Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to the new land area.
  • Stage 2 includes construction of another pipeline connecting the Pōrangahau WWTP to land.  
  • Finally, a new treatment facility will be built at the discharge site, including a storage pond. A further 30 hectares of irrigation will also be established at the property. This will allow 100% of wastewater to be discharged to land and previous discharges will cease.

In the interim, while Pōrangahau continues to discharge to the river in the short term for up to six years, Council will install additional treatment in the form of a UV system.

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Land treatment and discharge is where treated wastewater from a wastewater treatment plant is applied to the land at a rate which plants can take up nutrients and use this for plant growth.  This allows nutrients to be beneficially returned to the land, rather than through an alternative discharge system such as surface water. 

The aim of the irrigation system will be to ensure there are no affects beyond the irrigation property boundary.  Buffers/setbacks will be used and the system will be designed to limit spray drift.  Additionally, a wind shut off system will be used where irrigation will be stopped when wind speed exceeds a set limit from a certain direction to minimise any drift. 

Odour is a result of a lack of oxygen within wastewater.  These conditions typically occur at the bottom of a treatment plant pond or in pipelines where water can sit for an extended period of time.  Odour will be managed by making sure the treatment ponds are working properly.  If oxygen levels are too low then more treatment will be needed prior to irrigation.  If there is water sitting in the irrigation system for some time it can be smelly.  This being the case the irrigation system will be started within the centre of the property, away from Beach and Hunter Roads. 

The irrigation system will appear no different to typical fixed sprinklers and moveable pods.  Unless one was told, there will be no indication it is wastewater being irrigated.  Wastewater will appear clear and be indistinguishable from freshwater irrigation. 

We are expecting the wastewater will be used to primarily grow grass, however a range of crops such as oats and chicory may be grown.  This may vary on a seasonal basis.  No crops will be grown for direct human consumption but animals can graze and be processed without restriction.   

Like any other environment containing wastewater, care should always be taken when around such locations.  All wastewater flows leaving the wastewater treatment plant and irrigated to land will be UV treated, killing bugs that can live in wastewater, reducing the risks to public health. 

No.  There will be a section of the irrigated area close to Beach and Hunter roads where no wastewater irrigation will occur.  Fixed sprinklers will be attached to fence posts within the interior of the property, whereas moveable pods can be manually shifted and will always be positioned so that irrigation is not in proximity to Beach and Hunter Roads. 

Storage allows wastewater flows to be captured at periods where the soil may be too wet and cannot receive irrigation.  This capturing of wastewater avoids the need for a surface water discharge as flows can be held until a more suitable time for irrigation. 

There are numerous land treatment sites in operation.  Communities like Levin, Foxton, Feilding, Shannon, Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Martinborough and Taupo all currently discharge their treated wastewater to land via similar systems with many others in the process of developing land treatment systems.   

Since April 2022, Council has been working with submitters and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC).

We have held three pre-hearings, the most recent in January 2023, and we are working through the outstanding issues with HBRC and other submitters.

In the meantime, we have been continuing the design of the new wastewater treatment plant and interim UV upgrade at Pōrangahau.

We are also commencing the design of the pipelines, which will convey wastewater from the existing wastewater treatment plants to the new land discharge site at Stage 2.

Update | April 2022

Marking a significant milestone in Central Hawke’s Bay District Council’s wastewater strategy, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) today publicly released the Pōrangahau wastewater consent(s) lodged by Central Hawke’s Bay District Council.  

Following more than three years of direct engagement with Pōrangahau and Te Paerahi residents and wider public, it was clear that continuation of the current system - where treated wastewater is discharged into the Pōrangahau River and dunes in Te Paerahi - is not an option for the community.  

The proposed changes within the consents seek a long-term, environmentally responsible approach where treated wastewater will be irrigated onto land, allowing time for soil absorption and plant growth.

HBRC is calling for feedback from the public on these proposed changes. 

Making a Submission to HBRC 
Any person may make a submission on the application by going online to Search #notified and completing the online submission Form 13. 
Or visit  
Hard copy submission forms can also be obtained from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council reception or upon request.   

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council must receive your submission no later than5pm 17 May 2022

If you wish to discuss the project, contact Central Hawke’s Bay District Council on 06 857 8060. 

Update | March 2022

Consents were lodged with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC) in late August 2021. These applications are intending to see the discharge from Pōrangahau treatment ponds into the Pōrangahau River ceased and the Te Paerahi discharge to the sand dunes stopped.

The proposed changes within the consents seek a long-term, environmentally sound approach where treated wastewater will be distributed at low irrigation rates onto a new land site, allowing time for soil absorption and plant growth.

CHBDC expects the consent to be notified in mid-late April 2022 to the public.

Update - August 2021

Council has lodged its long term resource consent with HBRC. 

It is anticipated these consents will be publicly notified in early 2022.

Update - June 2021

Council have adopted their long term plan - which sets out the 9 year plan for consenting and upgrading the wastewater systems across the two towns.

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Update - April 2021

A site hui was undertaken with Ngati Kere, archaeologist and the landowners of the proposed land site.

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Update - 18 March 2021

A community hui was held as part of the long term plan, with particular focus on the wastewater upgrades.

A copy of the presentation can be found here.

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Update - 28 February 2021

Late February 2021 - Council lodged the interim consent with HBRC to allow the existing plants in Pōrangahau and Te Paerahi to continue to operate.

Through section 124 of the RMA this allows the existing plants the right to operate while the new consents are processed.

Update - 13 February 2021

Council and members of the community undertook a bus trip to the Lower Central North Island on Sat 13th Feb 2021 to visit land based discharge sites that service Foxton, Foxton Beach, Shannon and Fielding. The purpose of the trip was to better understand how systems that could be similar to that implement at Pōrangahau and Te Paerahi.

Update |September 2020

Council officers held an engagement session with the Pōrangahau Catchment Group on the 9th September 2021.

Update | August 2020

Council is undertaking pre engagement on our Long Term Plan and wants to hear from the community on #thebigwastewaterstory

This booklet provides an oversight into the options being investigated and we want your feedback before we refine these further prior to formal feedback planned for March 2021.

Update | 26 July 2020

A hui was held at Rongomaraeroa to further the project - appended is the presentation that was run through.

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Update | 20 March 2020

A community hui was held at the Duke of Edinburgh in Porangahau on Wednesday 18th March 2020 -  appended are the Hui Minutes

Linked is the Wastewater Upgrade presentation shown to the community.

Council will now progress further a short list of options and discuss directly with landowners and community members as we look to bring this shortlist back for review mid 2020.

Update | 11 March 2020

A community hui is planned for Wednesday 18th March 2020 to further discuss the options available for the future of wastewater in Porangahau and Te Paerahi.

This Porangahau Wastewater Community Meeting flyer has been delivered to all residents.

Update | 17 December 2019porangahau waste water meeting

A community meeting was held on Monday 16th December 2019 and the community was extremely engaged in providing constructive feedback and direction to council. This now allows council to rule out some options, and further investigate others. 

Minutes following this hui are appended here.

Officers are going away and will bring back some high level options and a plan to a meeting in February/ March 2020.

Update | 09 December 2019

A community meeting is planned for Monday 16th December at the Porangahau Community Hall from 1-3pm to start the discussions on the Porangahau and Te-Paerahi Wastewater network and our journey towards replacing the resource consents.

Please find a link to the latest Porangahau Wastewater Community Meeting flyer that is being delivered to letterboxes this week.

Update | 05 April 2019

Council is working in the background to prepare to form a reference group to assist us with determining the future of the Te-Paerahi and Porangahau wastewater treatment plants.

It is envisaged due to the Waipawa, Waipukurau and Otane work at present this will commence later in 2019.

Update | 6 November 2018

The resource consent for the wastewater treatment plant expires on 31 May 2021, council is planning to consult with the community to ensure the solution we implement is sustainable and reflective of community values and aspirations.

A copy of the current resource consents are available here.


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