Wastewater disposal

The Council provides and maintains a public reticulated wastewater (sewage) system for all urban areas in Nelson city, from Saxton Field to The Glen.

The landowner is responsible for maintaining the sewer lateral which is the pipe from the Council main to the dwelling.

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 Bell Island and discharged into one of the main channels of the Waimea Estuary on the outgoing tide.

Fish processing water from industries on the Port Nelson reclamation 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 at the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Wakapuaka then discharged into Tasman Bay.


A wastewater charge is set under Section 16 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 to recover the costs required for Council's sewage disposal system. This charge is levied to all units to which the Council's sewerage disposal service is provided. From 1 July 2019 the wastewater charge for residential, multi-residential, rural and smallholding properties is $477.93 pa  and $119.48 for commercial.

  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.