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Wastewater disposal

The Council provides a public reticulated wastewater (sewerage) system for all urban areas in Nelson city, from Saxton Field to The Glen. Council maintains all sewer pipes serving more than one property. Where a sewer pipe passes through private property and serves more than one house Council maintains the pipe to within 15 metres of the boundary of the last property served.

The landowner is responsible for maintaining the sewer lateral which is the pipe from the Council main to the dwelling. We maintain the sewer system to within 15 metres of the boundary of the last property served.

Outside of the urban area the Council permits independent disposal of sewage by ground soakage, only where it is impracticable to provide a reticulated system and where there is not likely to be any contamination. Any such system must comply with the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code and the NRMP.


Sewage from Stoke and Tahunanui is treated at the Nelson Regional Sewerage Business Unit treatment plant on Bells Island and discharged into one of the main channels of the Waimea Estuary on the outgoing tide.

Fish processing water from Sealord Group Ltd and Sanford (South Island) Ltd is screened by these industries and discharged beyond the Boulder Bank into Tasman Bay. The Council owns, operates and maintains this outfall and the industries pay all the costs of it.

Effluent from the remainder of the city is treated in a pond at Wakapuaka then discharged into Tasman Bay. The Council is in the process of upgrading this treatment system. Read more about the Nelson North Wastewater Treatment Plant


A wastewater charge is set under Section 16 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 to recover the costs required for Council's sewerage disposal system. This charge is levied to all units to which the Council's sewerage disposal service is provided. The current wastewater charge is $323.40.

  1. Residential property owners pay for sewage disposal by the wastewater charge levied on their properties.
  2. Commercial trade waste charges will be based on the total costs recovered by the Council through the trade waste bylaw charging schedule found in the Nelson Community Plan.