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Published: 2006-04-06 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is reminding boat owners who have moorings or marina berths in the Taupo area to dispose of their wastewater correctly.

Wastewater includes sink, shower and laundry water and sewage.

More than 600 commercial and private boat owners were sent letters reminding them of rules this week.

The letters follow a pamphlet campaign that ran last year, which explained how to safely store and dispose of boat waste.

“There’s a strong emphasis on water quality in Lake Taupo at the moment – farmers and septic tank users are being expected to comply with stricter regulations – so this is a reminder to boat users that they need to do their bit,” said Environment Waikato’s Resource Use Manager Chris McLay.

“Wastewater discharges into Lake Taupo result in the release of bacteria and other disease-causing pathogens that are detrimental to human health and aquatic life. They also contain nutrients that contribute to algal blooms and reduced water clarity in the lake.”

Wastewater should be captured in secure holding tanks and discharged through the free pump-out facilities, which are available at all Taupo marinas.

“It is illegal to discharge sewage or grey water into Lake Taupo and those who do so are liable for a $750 infringement notice,” Mr McLay said.

“More serious or ongoing discharges face a maximum fine of up to $200,000 and/or two years in prison.

“We will be doing spot checks in future to ensure people are complying with the rules.”

Environment Waikato’s information campaign is part of the Taupo-Nui-A-Tia 2020 project, a community initiative focussed on the sustainable management of Lake Taupo and its environs.