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Sewage discharges, including septic tanks

http://www.gw.govt.nz/sewage-discharges-including-septic-tanks

Sewage discharges, including septic tanks

Updated 8 July 2015 8:47am

Sewage treatment and disposal can result in discharges of contaminants to land, air (spray droplets, odour), fresh water or coastal water.

Depending on the degree of treatment, sewage can harm people and the environment because it contains germs, nutrients, and stuff that's not completely broken down.

Discharges to land are controlled in the Regional Plan for Discharges to Land.

Discharges to fresh water are controlled in the Regional Freshwater Plan.

Discharges to coastal water are controlled in the Regional Coastal Plan and the Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations, 1998.

Discharges to air associated with sewage treatment and disposal are controlled in the Regional Air Quality Management Plan.

Discharges to land

Rule 3 of the Regional Plan for Discharges to Land permits discharges from sewer pipes and pumps during maintenance and repair provided the activity complies with conditions stated in the rule.

Rule 5 of the Regional Plan for Discharges to Land permits discharges from pit latrines provided the activity complies with conditions stated in the rule.

Rule 6 of the Regional Plan for Discharges to Land permits the discharge of aerobically treated sewage (such as from package plants) into or onto land provided the activity complies with conditions stated in the rule.

Rule 7 of the Regional Plan for Discharges to Land permits the discharge of sewage from septic tanks and other domestic systems into, but not onto, land provided the activity complies with conditions stated in the rule.

Rule 8 of the Regional Plan for Discharges to Land requires a discharge permit for all discharges of sewage to land, no matter how well it is treated, unless it is allowed by Rule 3, Rule 5, Rule 6 or Rule 7.

This is a discretionary activity. Note that because discharges of composted sewage sludge are not specifically provided for, they require a discharge permit under this rule.

Discharges to air associated with sewage treatment and disposal

Rule 23 of the Regional Air Quality Management Plan requires a discharge permit for all discharges to air from sewage treatment and disposal unless the discharge is allowed by Rule 21.

Rule 21 of the Regional Air Quality Management Plan permits the discharge of contaminants to air from

  • on-site sewage treatment and disposal
  • the conveyancing of sewage through sewerage systems
  • sewage pumping stations

subject to compliance with conditions stated in the rule.

Discharges to fresh water

Every discharge of sewage to water requires a discharge permit in accordance with Rule 5 of the Regional Freshwater Plan. This is a discretionary activity.

Discharges to coastal water, except from vessels

Rule 58 of the Regional Coastal Plan requires a coastal permit to discharge human sewage onto land or into water in the coastal marine area outside any Area of Significant Conservation Value.

This rule does not apply to discharges from vessels. This is a discretionary activity.

Rule 60 of the Regional Coastal Plan requires a coastal permit to discharge human sewage onto land or into water in the coastal marine area within any Area of Significant Conservation Value.

This rule does not apply to discharges from vessels. This is a non-complying activity.

Discharges to coastal water from ships and offshore installations

Discharges from vessels and offshore installations are controlled by the Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations, which came into force on 20 July 1998.

The regulations apply to every kind of craft, whether or not it has any means of propulsion (see the definition of ship). The regulations apply to all coastal waters of New Zealand.

The part of the regulations dealing with sewage discharges from ships and offshore installations was amended in 2002.

Section 11 of the Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations, 1998 permits discharges of sewage to the coastal marine area from a ship and offshore installation, provided the discharge is more than specified distances from shore and from marine farms, and provided the water is more than 5 metres deep.

Sections 12 and 12A of the Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations, 1998 permits discharges of treated sewage from a ship and offshore installation, at closer distances to marine farms than are allowed by section 11.

To comply with this section, the sewage must be treated in sewage treatment facilities specified in the regulations.