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3.10.6 Implementation Methods – Domestic Wastewater Treatment and Land Application

The domestic wastewater rules primarily aim to ensure that there is no increase in nitrogen leaching to the Lake as a result of new or existing on-site domestic wastewater systems, and to ensure that systems are appropriately designed, installed and maintained.

Existing Domestic On-site Wastewater Discharges
On-site wastewater systems near the lakeshore (those systems in the Near-shore Zone) are managed differently to other systems, as they not only increase nitrogen leaching to the Lake, but also increase the potential for near-shore effects such as health risks and nuisance plant growths. Existing systems in the Near-shore Zone are therefore permitted for a period of time allowing for replacement by Taupo District Council reticulated wastewater schemes, after which, remaining on-site systems will become controlled activities. On-site systems outside the Near-shore Zone are permitted for the life of the Plan provided conditions are satisfied.

New Domestic On-site Wastewater Discharges
Apart from a special case of a rule for new wastewater discharges from papakainga housing and Marae, rules for new on-site wastewater systems allow conventional septic tank style systems on sections greater than four hectares, but require advanced nitrogen reducing wastewater systems for smaller sections, with a minimum property size of 0.5 hectares. Because new wastewater discharges potentially increase the nitrogen leaching from a site, there must be some other decrease in nitrogen leaching to compensate. To ensure this is the case, new on-site wastewater discharges are generally only permitted if:

  1. The site was used for farming activities* at the time the rule was notified, and after the new wastewater system is installed, will have nitrogen discharges limited by Permitted Land Use Rule 3.10.5.1, or
  2. The land use is managed via a consent that makes allowance for the nitrogen leaching from the new on-site wastewater system.

The following table summarises the new wastewater rules and shows how they interrelate with the land use rules where appropriate.

 

Summary of Wastewater Rules

On-site Wastewater Discharge Activity Status
Existing on-site wastewater discharge in Near-shore Zone Permitted with conditions (Rule 3.10.6.1) until 30th June 2013 and Controlled activity (Rule 3.10.6.5) thereafter
Existing on-site wastewater discharge outside Near-shore Zone Permitted with conditions (Rule 3.10.6.2)
New advanced on-site wastewater discharge on properties greater than 5000 square metres (or 2500 square metres if subdivision consent is granted before 9 July 2005) Permitted with conditions (Rule 3.10.6.3) provided Permitted Land Use Rule 3.10.5.1 is satisfied, or the land use is consented under 3.10.5.3, 3.10.5.4 or 3.10.5.5.
New conventional on-site wastewater discharge on properties greater than 4 hectares Permitted with conditions (Rule 3.10.6.4) provided Permitted Land Use Rule 3.10.5.1 is satisfied, or the land use is consented under 3.10.5.3, 3.10.5.4 or 3.10.5.5.
New papakainga and Marae wastewater discharges Restricted discretionary activity (Rule 3.10.6.6) subject to standards and terms
Other on-site wastewater discharges Discretionary under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Proposed Waikato Regional Plan

 

3.10.6.1 Permitted Activity Rule - Discharge of Domestic Wastewater from Existing On-site Systems Within the Near-shore Zone

The discharge of domestic wastewater effluent (including grey water but not stormwater) onto or into land from an on-site domestic wastewater treatment and land application system in the Lake Taupo Near-shore Zone lawfully established or authorised before the date of notification of this rule is a permitted activity until 30th June 2013, subject to the following conditions:

  1. During times of normal wet winter groundwater level there shall be at least 600 millimetres separation distance between the highest groundwater level and the bottom of the land application trench.
  2. The volume of effluent to be discharged from any one system shall not exceed 1.3 cubic metres per day averaged over any one month period, or 3 cubic metres per day if the discharge was previously authorised by Rule 3.5.7.6 of the Waikato Regional Plan.
  3. There shall be no overland flow or surface ponding of effluent.
  4. The discharge shall not result in any objectionable effects from odour beyond the boundary of the subject property.
  5. The owner of the wastewater system shall obtain and supply to the Taupo District Council, at intervals not exceeding 3 years, a report from a Waikato Regional Council approved inspector, certifying that the wastewater treatment and disposal system is fit for purpose, and complies with the conditions of this rule. The report shall also include any recommended maintenance or repairs required. Such maintenance/repairs shall be carried out within 3 months of the date of the report. The first inspection is required by 9 July 2008.
  6. Septic tanks shall be desludged before the combined sludge and scum layers occupy 50 percent of the tank depth, or within the time period recommended for desludging during the inspection required by condition e) of this rule.

Advisory Notes:

  • It is recommended that the on-site wastewater system is managed in accordance with the following principles:

- Avoid discharging the following to the wastewater system: non-biodegradable chemicals, sanitary napkins, dental floss, kitty litter, coffee grounds, paper towels, oil and fat, paint, pesticides, high strength detergents;
- Do not use, or minimise the use of, garbage disposal units;
- Minimise water usage such as by installing water reduction fixtures on water outlets and ensuring taps are not left running or leaking;
- Ensure rain gutters do not discharge to the wastewater system;
- Do not pave over the land application area, and ensure vehicles and stock do not have access to the land application area; 
- If the land application area is grassed, ensure it is mowed regularly so grass does not become rank; 
- If an effluent outlet filter is fitted to the wastewater system, it should be inspected annually and cleaned if slime build-up is blocking the filter orifices.

  • The Waikato Regional Plan Lake Taupo Catchment Maps indicate the location of the Near-shore Zone.
  • In any given case, the precise location of the inland extent of the near shore zone boundary will need to be defined on a case by case basis.
  • Wastewater discharges which do not comply with Rules 3.10.6.1, 3.10.6.2, 3.10.6.3, 3.10.6.4, 3.10.6.5 and 3.10.6.6 are to be assessed as discretionary activities under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Waikato Regional Plan.

3.10.6.2 Permitted Activity Rule – Discharge of Domestic Wastewater from Existing On-site Systems Outside the Near-shore Zone

The discharge of domestic wastewater effluent (including grey water but not stormwater) onto or into land from an on-site domestic wastewater treatment and land application system outside the Lake Taupo Near-shore Zone, lawfully established or authorised before the date of notification of this rule, is a permitted activity, subject to the following conditions:

  1. During times of normal wet winter groundwater level there shall be at least 600 millimetres separation distance between the highest groundwater level and the bottom of the land application trench.
  2. The volume of effluent to be discharged from any one system shall not exceed 1.3 cubic metres per day averaged over any one month period, or 3 cubic metres per day if the discharge was previously authorised by Rule 3.5.7.6 of the Waikato Regional Plan.
  3. There shall be no overland flow or surface ponding of effluent.
  4. The discharge shall not result in any objectionable effects from odour beyond the boundary of the subject property.
  5. Septic tanks shall be desludged before the combined sludge and scum layers occupy 50 percent of the tank depth
  6. This rule shall no longer apply where a property is subdivided such that the land area of the property serviced by the on-site system is reduced to less than four hectares.
  7. Should the treatment and/or land application system fail to the extent that either the treatment system or land application system needs to be substantially replaced, if an effluent outlet filter is not part of the system, it shall be fitted as part of the system reinstatement.
  8. The discharge shall not occur within 20 metres of a Significant Geothermal Feature.

Advisory Notes:

  • It is recommended that the on-site wastewater system is managed in accordance with the following principles:

- Avoid discharging the following to the wastewater system: non-biodegradable chemicals, sanitary napkins, dental floss, kitty litter, coffee grounds, paper towels, oil and fat, paint, pesticides, high strength detergents;
- Do not use, or minimise the use of, garbage disposal units;
- Minimise water usage such as by installing water reduction fixtures on water outlets and ensuring taps are not left running or leaking;
- Ensure rain gutters do not discharge to the wastewater system;
- Do not pave over the land application area, and ensure vehicles and stock do not have access to the land application area; 
- If the land application area is grassed, ensure it is mowed regularly so grass does not become rank; 
- If an effluent outlet filter is fitted to the wastewater system, it should be inspected annually and cleaned if slime build-up is blocking the filter orifices.

  • For the purpose of condition g), if a property is subdivided such that this rule no longer applies, the discharge would need to be authorised by Rule 3.10.6.3 or by consent under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Proposed Waikato Regional Plan.
  • For the purpose of condition h), it is envisaged that ‘substantially replaced’ would be where the septic tank is replaced, or at least half of the land application system is replaced, or other works of similar scale.
  • The Waikato Regional Plan Lake Taupo Catchment Maps indicate the location of the Near-shore Zone.
  • In any given case, the precise location of the inland extent of the near shore zone boundary will need to be defined on a case by case basis.
  • Wastewater discharges which do not comply with Rules 3.10.6.1, 3.10.6.2, 3.10.6.3, 3.10.6.4, 3.10.6.5 and 3.10.6.6 are to be assessed as discretionary activities under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Waikato Regional Plan.

3.10.6.3 Permitted Activity Rule – New Nitrogen Removing On-site Wastewater Systems

The discharge of domestic wastewater effluent (including grey water but not stormwater) onto or into land from an on-site wastewater treatment and land application system, established after the date of notification of this rule (9 July 2005), where the property:

  1. is 5000 square metres or larger and the property satisfies land use rule 3.10.5.1; or
  2. is 2500 square metres or larger, and less than 5000 square metres, and has been granted subdivision consent prior to the date of notification of this rule

is a permitted activity, subject to the following conditions:

Wastewater Treatment Plant

  1. The wastewater treatment plant shall be water tight, and protected from stormwater ingress.
  2. Effluent from the wastewater treatment plant shall not exceed concentrations of: 20 g/m3 Biochemical Oxygen Demand, 30 g/m3 Suspended Solids, 25 g/m3 Total Nitrogen.
  3. The wastewater treatment plant shall be installed in such a way that ensures easy access for sampling of effluent after treatment and before discharge to the land application area, and easy access for regular plant maintenance activities.

Land Application Area

  1. The land application system shall be pump dosed, with the pump having a high-level alarm system.
  2. The land application system shall consist of a dripper irrigation system set in a topsoil layer 100 to 200 millimetres below the ground surface or, if the slope of the land application area is less than 15 degrees, dripper lines may be set on the ground surface and covered by bark or similar material anchored by a durable netting.
  3. The land application system shall be designed and installed such that during times of normal wet winter groundwater level there shall be at least 300 millimetres separation distance between the highest groundwater level and the dripper lines.
  4. The loading rate shall not exceed 5 millimetres per day (5 litres per square metre).
  5. The volume of effluent to be discharged from any one system shall not exceed 2 cubic metres per day averaged over any one month period.
  6. There shall be no overland flow or surface ponding of effluent.
  7. The discharge shall not result in any objectionable effects from odour beyond the boundary of the subject property.
  8. The discharge shall not occur within 20 metres of a Significant Geothermal Feature, 20 metres of a water supply bore, or 20 metres of a surface water body.

Management and Information

  1. Prior to installation of the on-site wastewater treatment and land application system, the property owner shall provide to the Taupo District Council a Site Assessment and Design Report drafted in accordance with AS/NZS 1547:2000, which contains sufficient information to demonstrate that the wastewater treatment and land application system is designed and will be appropriately located such that the conditions of this rule can be satisfied.
  2. After the wastewater system has been installed, and prior to closing over and commissioning of the treatment and land application components, the property owner shall obtain a Post Installation Wastewater System Certificate from a Waikato Regional Council approved inspector, which states that the wastewater treatment and land application system has been installed in accordance with the Site Assessment and Design Report, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. The wastewater treatment and land application system shall be subject to a Servicing and Maintenance Contract that ensures the system is inspected at least every six months from the date of commissioning, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. The maintenance contract shall ensure that during the six monthly inspections, a sample of effluent is taken from the outlet stage of the treatment system, and prior to the land application system, and tested for Total Nitrogen. Sampling shall follow APHA protocol. Inspection reports and sampling results shall be provided to the Taupo District Council within two months of each inspection.
  4. Prior to commissioning of the on-site wastewater system, the owner shall supply to the Taupo District Council a copy of:
    1. The Site Assessment and Design Report (required by condition l), details of the wastewater treatment plant, and of the type and location of the effluent distribution system;
    2. A copy of the Post Installation Wastewater System Certificate (required by condition m);
    3. A copy of the Servicing and Maintenance Contract (required by condition n);

Advisory Notes:

  • Land application systems and wastewater treatment units should be designed, sited and constructed in accordance with sections 4.2, 4.3 and 4.5, and Appendices 4.2A - 4.2D, 4.3A3 and 4.5A - 4.5D of the On-site Domestic Wastewater Management Standard AS/NZS 1547:2000. Where not covered by this standard, design, siting and construction details should be in accordance with Auckland Regional Council’s 2004 On-site Wastewater Disposal From Households and Institutions – Technical Publication 58, unless otherwise stated in the conditions of this rule.
  • The Site Assessment and Design Report should be provided on the appropriate template provided by the Waikato Regional Council, and in accordance with the guidance provided in AS/NZS 1547:2000 for Site and Soil Evaluation Reports and Design Reports.
  • Wastewater discharges which do not comply with Rules 3.10.6.1, 3.10.6.2, 3.10.6.3, 3.10.6.4, 3.10.6.5 and 3.10.6.6 are to be assessed as discretionary activities under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Waikato Regional Plan.

3.10.6.4 Permitted Activity Rule – New Conventional On-site Wastewater Systems

The discharge of domestic wastewater effluent (including grey water but not stormwater) onto or into land from an on-site wastewater treatment and land application system, established after the date of notification of this rule (9 July 2005), where the property:

  1. is outside the Lake Taupo Near-shore Zone; and
  2. is on a property four hectares or larger and satisfies rule 3.10.5.1

is a permitted activity, subject to the following conditions:

Wastewater Treatment System

  1. The wastewater treatment system shall be water tight, and protected from stormwater ingress.
  2. Where the treatment system consists of a septic tank, it shall have the capacity stated in the following table and shall be fitted with an effluent outlet filter.

 

Design Population Equivalent (persons) Number of Bedrooms Tank Capacity (litres)
1-5 3 3000
6-7 4 3500
8 5 4000
9-10 6 4500

 

Land Application System

  1. The land application system shall be designed and installed such that the effluent will spread evenly through the whole length of the effluent distribution lines.
  2. The land application system shall be designed and installed such that during times of normal wet winter ground water level there shall be at least 600 millimetres separation distance between the highest groundwater level and the bottom of the land application trench, unless secondary treated effluent is discharged through a dripper irrigation system in which case the separation distance shall be at least 300 millimetres.
  3. The loading rate shall be in accordance with Technical Sheet 5-2, Summary of Land Disposal Methods and Recommended Loading Rates vs. Soil Category, Appendix D, On-site Wastewater Systems: Design and Management Manual, Auckland Regional Council Technical Publication 58 (2004), unless secondary treated effluent is discharged, in which case the loading rate shall not exceed 5 millimetres per day (5 litres per square metre).
  4. The volume of effluent to be discharged from any one system shall not exceed 2 cubic metres per day averaged over any one month period.
  5. There shall be no overland flow or surface ponding of effluent.
  6. The discharge shall not result in any objectionable effects from odour beyond the boundary of the subject property.
  7. The discharge shall not occur within 20 metres of a Significant Geothermal Feature, 30 metres of a water supply bore, or 200 metres of a surface water body.

Management and Information

  1. Prior to installation of the on-site wastewater treatment and land application system, the property owner shall provide to the Taupo District Council a Site Assessment and Design Report drafted in accordance with AS/NZS 1547:2000, which contains sufficient information to demonstrate that the wastewater treatment and land application system is designed and will be appropriately located such that the conditions of this rule can be satisfied.
  2. After the wastewater system has been installed, and prior to closing over and commissioning of the treatment and land application components, the property owner shall obtain a Post Installation Wastewater System Certificate from a Waikato Regional Council approved inspector, which states that the wastewater treatment and land application system has been installed in accordance with the Site Assessment and Design Report, and in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. Prior to commissioning of the on-site wastewater system, the owner shall supply to the Taupo District Council:
  4. A copy of the Site Assessment and Design Report (required by condition j), details of the wastewater treatment plant, and the type and location of the land application system.
  5. A copy of the Post Installation Wastewater System Certificate (required by condition k)
  6. Septic tanks shall be desludged before the combined sludge and scum layers occupy 50 percent of the tank depth.
  7. There shall be no more than one conventional wastewater system per four hectares of land area.

Advisory Notes:

  • It is recommended that the on-site wastewater system is managed in accordance with the following principles:

- Avoid discharging the following to the wastewater system: non-biodegradable chemicals, sanitary napkins, dental floss, kitty litter, coffee grounds, paper towels, oil and fat, paint, pesticides, high strength detergents;
- Do not use, or minimise the use of, garbage disposal units;
- Minimise water usage such as by installing water reduction fixtures on water outlets and ensuring taps are not left running or leaking;
- Ensure rain gutters do not discharge to the wastewater system;
- Do not pave over the land application area, and ensure vehicles and stock do not have access to the land application area; 
- If the land application area is grassed, ensure it is mowed regularly so grass does not become rank; 
- The effluent outlet filter should be inspected annually and cleaned if slime build up is blocking the filter orifices.

  • Land application systems and wastewater treatment units should be designed, sited and constructed in accordance with sections 4.2, 4.3 and 4.5, and Appendices 4.2A - 4.2D, 4.3A3 and 4.5A - 4.5D of the On-site Domestic Wastewater Management Standard AS/NZS 1547:2000. Where not covered by this standard, design, siting and construction details should be in accordance with Auckland Regional Council’s 2004 On-site Wastewater Disposal From Households and Institutions – Technical Publication 58, unless otherwise stated in the conditions of this rule.
  • The Site Assessment and Design Report should be provided on the appropriate template provided by the Waikato Regional Council, and in accordance with the guidance provided in AS/NZS 1547:2000 for Site and Soil Evaluation Reports and Design Reports.
  • For the purpose of condition o), if a property is subdivided such that this rule no longer applies, the discharge would need to be authorised by Rule 3.10.6.3 or by consent under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Proposed Waikato Regional Plan
  • Wastewater discharges which do not comply with Rules 3.10.6.1, 3.10.6.2, 3.10.6.3, 3.10.6.4, 3.10.6.5 and 3.10.6.6 are to be assessed as discretionary activities under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Waikato Regional Plan.
  • The Waikato Regional Plan Lake Taupo Catchment Maps indicate the location of the Near-shore Zone.

3.10.6.5 Controlled Activity Rule - Wastewater Systems in the Near Shore Zone after 30th June 2013

The discharge of domestic wastewater effluent (including grey water but not stormwater) onto or into land from an on-site domestic wastewater treatment and land application system in the Lake Taupo Near-shore Zone, which was authorised by Rule 3.10.6.1, and which does not satisfy the conditions of Rule 3.10.6.3, is a controlled activity (requiring resource consent) on and after 30th June 2013 subject to the following conditions, standards and terms:

  1. During times of normal wet winter groundwater level, there shall be at least 600 millimetres separation distance between the highest groundwater level and the bottom of the land application trench, unless secondary treated effluent is discharged through a dripper irrigation system in which case the separation distance shall be at least 300 millimetres.
  2. The volume of effluent to be discharged from any one system shall not exceed 1.3 cubic metres per day averaged over any one month period, or 3 cubic metres per day if the discharge was previously authorised by Rule 3.5.7.6 of the Waikato Regional Plan
  3. There shall be no overland flow or surface ponding of effluent.
  4. The discharge shall not result in any objectionable effects from odour beyond the boundary of the subject property.
  5. If the wastewater system is within the area of benefit of a reticulated community wastewater treatment system, it shall be connected to the system as soon as practicable.

Waikato Regional Council reserves control over the following matters:

  1. Wastewater system upgrades to avoid health or environmental effects;
  2. Wastewater system upgrades to avoid near shore effects either individually or in combination with other on-site wastewater systems;
  3. Wastewater system upgrades to avoid effects on any water supply bore;
  4. Restrictions on the use of the wastewater system;
  5. Monitoring, maintenance and reporting requirements;
  6. The circumstances under which the consent conditions may be reviewed.

Notification:
Pursuant to s94D(3) of the Resource Management Act 1991, notice of controlled activity applications received in accordance with this rule, does not need to be served.

Advisory Note:

  • Wastewater discharges which do not comply with Rules 3.10.6.1, 3.10.6.2, 3.10.6.3, 3.10.6.4, 3.10.6.5 and 3.10.6.6 are to be assessed as discretionary activities under Rule 3.5.7.7 of the Waikato Regional Plan.
  • The Waikato Regional Plan Lake Taupo Catchment Maps indicate the location of the Near-shore Zone.

3.10.6.6 Restricted Discretionary Activity Rule – New Papakainga and Marae Wastewater Discharges

The discharge of domestic wastewater effluent (including grey water but not stormwater) from papakainga or Marae buildings, onto or into land from an on-site domestic wastewater treatment and land application system in the Lake Taupo catchment, established after the date of notification of this rule, is a restricted discretionary activity (requiring resource consent) subject to the following conditions, standards and terms:

  1. The discharge does not comply with Rules 3.10.6.1, 3.10.6.2, 3.10.6.3, 3.10.6.4 or 3.10.6.5.
  2. The wastewater system is established to provide wastewater servicing of papakainga housing or Marae buildings on Maori land within the meaning of Section 2 and Section 129 (1)(a) and (b) of the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.
  3. The volume of effluent to be discharged from any one system shall not exceed 2 cubic metres per day averaged over any one month period.
  4. The wastewater system shall not be located within the area of benefit of a reticulated community wastewater treatment system.
  5. A management plan shall be submitted demonstrating how the papakainga and Marae buildings will be developed and how wastewater will be managed.
  6. Papakainga wastewater services shall not be used for commercial purposes.

Waikato Regional Council restricts its discretion over the following matters:

  1. Methods to avoid effects, either individually or in combination with other on-site wastewater systems, on near shore Lake Taupo waters, other surface water or ground water bodies, domestic water supply bores and Significant Geothermal Features; (Note: These methods can include wastewater system design, controls on the use of the wastewater system, and may allow for low tech wastewater solutions if appropriate);
  2. Methods to achieve Policy 9;
  3. Methods to avoid health risks associated with on-site wastewater disposal;
  4. Monitoring, maintenance and reporting requirements;
  5. The circumstances under which the consent conditions may be reviewed.

Notification:
Pursuant to s94D of the Resource Management Act 1991 applications received in accordance with this rule do not need to be notified and notice of applications does not need to be served.

Advisory Note:

  • Wastewater discharges which do not comply with rules 3.10.6.1, 3.10.6.2, 3.10.6.3, 3.10.6.4, 3.10.6.5 and 3.10.6.6 are to be assessed as discretionary activities under rule 3.5.7.7 of the Waikato Regional Plan.

Explanation and Principle Reasons for Adopting Methods 3.10.6.1 to 3.10.6.6

Rule 3.10.6.1 permits discharges from existing domestic on-site wastewater systems within the near-shore zone until 30th June 2011, after which it is anticipated that most of these systems will have been replaced by reticulated community wastewater systems. Remaining discharges from systems in this zone would then become Controlled Activities under rule 3.10.6.5. Policy 8 indicates that these remaining systems will be upgraded if they are causing a risk of near-shore effects.

Rule 3.10.6.2 permits discharges from existing wastewater systems outside the Near-shore Zone. Conditions are to ensure these systems are appropriately managed and maintained so that treatment performance is maximised within the capabilities of each system.

Rules 3.10.6.3 and 3.10.6.4 permit discharges from new advanced nitrogen reducing systems and new conventional systems respectively. Conditions require that these systems perform, and are established at a density, which ensures they do not result in increased nitrogen leaching to the Lake.

Rule 3.10.6.6 permits new or additional wastewater discharges from papakainga and associated Marae buildings. The rule recognises that some papakainga may be in areas where power and access are limited, and therefore provides flexibility for wastewater solutions, while ensuring the Lake is protected.

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