East Rotoiti – Rotoma Sewerage Scheme

Key Biolytix Information

Here is important information on the Biolytix sewerage system for East Rotoiti residents.

How Biolytix works

Short Video

Biolytix Pre-Installation Information Booklet

This bookletdetails the steps involved, along with who you should contact, during each stage of installation of your new Biolytix sewerage system.

Biolytix User Operation and Maintenance Manual

This manual has everything you need to know to operate and maintain your new Biolytix sewerage system.

Update - December 23

Rotorua Lakes Council's latest sewerage update has just been released. They advise that 80% of all on-property installations are in place for Rotoma and East Rotoiti.

The estimated completion date is now June 2024.

The full update including information from Rotorua Lakes Council, Ngāti Pikiao Cultural Impacts Team, Whenua Māori Project and Fulton Hogan can be read here.

Update - November 23

Our periodic emailed newsletters and website have continued to provide updates on the progress towards completion of the sewerage scheme. Major community concerns over the mounting increase in overall capital costs (currently believed to be in the region of $53 million) have continued, with Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC) still unable to provide firm commitments.

To summarise the most recent information relating to the scheme:-

282 Rotoiti installations completed to date with the aim to complete 340 properties by December 2023.

Additional properties to be completed in Jan/Feb 2024 as legal hurdles are resolved with property owners.

Marae installations should be completed under RLC Maintenance division in June 2024 as design work is under way currently with Iwi to identify the system configuration required to meet Marae ‘super events’.

Whenua Māori installations are ‘progressing steadily’ with site visits to affected properties and Locality Plans (LPs) being drafted. Completed documentation is being lodged with the Māori Land Court.

Significant impacts on project costs have occurred from high lake levels. At least 40-60% of all installations now require de-watering and sheet pile protection versus earlier estimate of 10%.

Power fluctuations have been found in the electrical supply to Rotoiti, triggering a low power voltage and activating alarms. UNISON is installing another three transformers.

Council has acknowledged the cost concern to property owners. They note that the final gross cost of the scheme is well canvassed as are the driving factors for that. Initially the Crown made an allocation of about $11.5 million for East Rotoiti based on the concept estimates of 2014 that were structured with a 30% uncertainty. Since then, a significant level of costs have been introduced with subsequent resource consent conditions, and the non-inclusion of construction inflation.

In 2021 the actual costs of East Rotoiti were further assessed taking into account the consent conditions, the on-site pre-treatment systems, the Treatment Plant and the outcomes of the tenders. It was established that the gross costs would be around $43 million (at that time). Based on that RLC made a further application to the Crown to match 50% of the revised cost which included a proposal to transfer $10 million of Crown Deed funding from the underspent Land Incentives Scheme to the RRSS. This was intended to be repaid by 2032 via an increase to the existing Lakes Enhancement Rate targeted to all District ratepayers.

The proposal was subsequently approved by Environment Minister Parker conditional upon Council reimbursing the Land Incentives programme when these funds were required. Disappointingly his approval was withdrawn earlier this year due to apparent concerns over the repayment options. Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group, as the coordinating body towards improving lakes water quality, are currently pursuing a reversal of this latter decision.

In the meantime, RLC has agreed to put forward a proposal to progressively increase the Lakes Enhancement Rate as part of deliberations on the draft 2024-34 LTP to help fund the shortfall on the RRSS in order to prevent the cost per property of blowing out to $35,000. This would presumably coincide with a review of the long-standing RLC funding support of $1,500 per property given the significant cost increase of infrastructure over the past decade. In the course of these deliberations, Council will consider the full actual costs of the scheme minus available subsidies and decide what to charge as the Capital targeted rate.  The community will then be consulted on these decisions.

 

The scheme has clearly been challenging because of its history, the Environment Court Decisions of 2012, the strict Resource Consent conditions, the market conditions and the difficulties presented more recently by the weather and lake levels. On the positive side sewerage reticulations have proved to be very effective (especially with the weather patterns) in diverting untreated sewerage from septic tanks seeping into the lakes. The reticulations carried out in the last 15 years are now preventing at least 2.5million litres of sewerage getting into the lakes every day. They are increasingly costly but over a 50 year horizon should prove to be a good investment for and by the communities.

LRCA will continue to monitor the decision making and success of efforts to secure funding of scheme cost increases, and the final determination of property costs by Councillors. If necessary LRCA will lobby with other affected parties to achieve an equitable outcome.

Update - August 23

Comprehensive Update from RLC

A series of questions were recently submitted to Senior Project Engineer Gerhard Mostert, and Stavros Michael, Deputy Chief Executive Infrastructure at Rotorua Lakes Council. The usual very prompt reply was received.

Q1. Number of systems now installed?

264 installed

Q2. Number scheduled, and number yet to be scheduled?

40 programmed, 20 to obtain Building consents & 12 handed over to BoPRC

Q3. What does ‘handed over to BoPRC mean?

This is the number of properties where the owner does not want to have a Biolytix system installed, for a variety of reasons. The Regional Council is responsible for the new OSET (onsite effluent treatment) rules. They will dictate what steps will be taken on a case-by-case basis

Q4. Progress with Marae and Kura installs?

Waiiti Marae is scheduled for installation within 3-4 weeks. The balance of the Marae's will be scheduled for next year June. We need to obtain enough data on usage to better design the systems to install for the Marae's.

Q5. Progress with Māori land issues, and expected resolution date?

There are about 19 properties that have received the Building consents, however we cannot proceed with installation until the Māori road way situation is resolved. The balance of about 70 properties is sitting with the Māori Land court. We are slowly working thru them and have just over 30 signed up. Once all are signed up we will make a submission in bulk to the Court for a decision.

Q6. What extra cost has that added to the overall scheme cost?

Not answered

STOP PRESS

Council discussed under urgency the withdrawal of Minister funding approval, and the intention of Council to increase lake enhancement rate paid by all ratepayers in the next 10 year plan as the mechanism to repay a loan from the unused fund, in order to prevent the cost per property to blow out to $35,000.

Good to see the Mayor concerned about affordability.

More information from the meeting here.

Q7. Have any land issues been resolved and installs completed?

There has been a small number of Māori land owners that agreed to the installation and received the systems.

Q8. Has incidence of alarm activation continued or been resolved - what is the cause?

I have been in contact with UNISON on the matter. We found that there are power fluctuations in the supply to Rotoiti. Thereby triggering a low power voltage, which triggers the Alarms. UNISON is busy installing another 3 transformers:

Project 206883 – Install a new transformer at Pole 169324 (At the frontage of Lake Okataina Road) – Design commencement August 2023, Construct Oct 2023.

Project 206884 – Install a new transformer at Pole 236428 (In the vicinity of 44/42 Tamatea Street, Rotorua) – Design commencement June 2023, Construct August 2023.

Project 201387 – Install a new pad mount transformer (At the frontage of 5 Wharetoroa Drive) – this is designed and in construction now.

Q9. What is the current status of the funding issues with Minister of Environment. Is the loan approach for earlier cost increases still being pursued with the Minister, and if so what is the progress with that?

The Council, with support from the Te Arawa Lakes Trust Board, continues to pursue a change to the minister’s decision to withhold $10mil of funding support. The matter will be discussed again by the whole Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group on the 22 September with a view of a collective letter to the Minister.

Q10. If not, why? What is RLC doing to fund that shortfall, and further cost increases due to weather and other delays etc?

Noting that, the Council has resolved yesterday (the 23rd) to include in its upcoming LTP (2024-34) incremental changes to the current Lakes Enhancement Rate (paid by all ratepayers in the District) to compensate for that decision by the Minister (if it remains unchanged) or to use such funds to reinvest in the Land Incentives Scheme. So one way or another the $10mil will be recovered to help the Rotoiti/Rotoma property owners.

There is still the matter of greater costs because of the weather and installation delays (lake levels/Marae/Maori Whenua) that the Council will consider in its Long Term Plan and whether it wishes to increase further its own funding support (currently $1500 per property) to a higher level. I am sure the local community will be making submissions to that effect during the next year’s LTP consultation process.

Q11. There is a rumour circulating that Council is not progressing the scheme due to the funding matter. Please confirm if this is correct?

No that is incorrect. Council is keen to complete the project as soon as possible taking into account the issues I outlined above (weather, lake levels, Maori whenua, Marae). We are all working to that effect.

Read Rotorua Lakes Council East Rotoiti Sewerage community update HERE.

Update - March 23

Weather Delays Sewerage Scheme

RLC confirm that the wet summer has impacted planned progress. Rather than normal dry conditions, the wet summer has been a nightmare for Fulton Hogan. However they have continued with installs when able to. Council will be preparing a formal update soon. The Fulton Hogan contract is to be extended from March this year to December.

Some site reinstatement work has also been affected by weather and wet ground conditions. We suggest you follow up Fulton Hogan (Nadia Whyte or Dan Snow). Or if not resolved RLC’s  Gerhard Mostert should be contacted on 027 2141820.

Progress remains slow with the Maori land issues where owners have died and succession through Maori Land Court is required. This prevents written landowner permission for RLC to work on sites. However Council continue to work on this, and in the meantime carry on with design agreement with land owners, and obtain building consent while waiting for Maori Land Court solutions.

The Agenda for the next ROTORUA TE ARAWA LAKES STRATEGY GROUP meeting included the following update:

4.1 Rotomā / Rotoiti Sewerage Scheme. The last remaining wastewater reticulation project in the wider programmes assigned to Rotorua Lakes Council under the Deed Agreement of 2005. The scheme is progressing with around 171 onsite systems installed and another 68 onsite systems booked for installation. This is sufficient for the next four months’ work programme. The Regulating Authority (the Bay of Plenty Regional Council) reported in April 2022 that the Wastewater Treatment Plant is operating in compliance with the relevant consent conditions. Rotorua Lakes Council continues to work with the Resource Consent mandated Iwi Liaison Group to monitor the project’s progress and compliance with all the relevant provisions of the Cultural Impacts Assessments Reports and provisions. The Strategy Group arrived at final resolutions for the funding gap of the project on 20 April 2022 and the Minister has provided confirmation of agreement to those resolutions. The Minister’s letter ROTORUA TE ARAWA LAKES STRATEGY GROUP 24 MARCH 2023 INFOCOUNCIL ID: 115 Item 8.6 2 Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group Doc No: RDC-1358351 24 March 2023 of expectation is now awaited to conclude the Deed funding schedule changes by this Strategy Group.

Update - December 22

Gerhard Mostert, (Contracts Engineer, Infrastructure, Rotorua Lakes Council), comments as follows:

It is great to see a community recognising the importance of protecting the health of the waterways for use and enjoyment of generations to come.

Many challenges were faced in 2022, COVID-19 continued to have an impact and wet weather. 147 properties have received their Biolytix systems. A further 92 properties are scheduled for installation. The Tamatea Street public toilet block will be completed during December 2022.

Landowners can make arrangements for site visits to discuss the installation and location of Biolytix systems by emailing our new project team member, Leo Morley from WSP, at Leo.Awata‐Morley@wsp.com.

We are also excited to have launched our video of the scheme which provides the community with further information about what we are achieving. You can view it here.

The information booklet taking property owners through the pre‐installation process and including key contacts is available here.

We thank the Contract management team, Fulton Hogan and WSP, who have worked hard throughout this year to make this progress.

Our next update will be in February 2023.

Gerhard Mostert’s full letter is available here.

Update - October 22

LRCA recently submitted Sewerage scheme questions to Council and received a very prompt response

Q: Please provide brief summary of install progress in 2022, recognising challenge of Covid and rainfall. In particular, predicted total installs by end of year.

A: We are interacting with 68 properties to obtain Building consents, 85 Building consents are approved and awaiting installations with another 123 units installed as of 20 October 2022.  We are aiming to complete a further 50 – 60 sites before Xmas (including the Tamatea St toilet blocks)

Q: Please provide Install plan for 2023

A: Continue with the state highway properties (Gisborne Point), Commence the non-residential sites (eg: schools over the school holidays) and the remaining Tamatea Street from February onwards.

Q: Current prediction on completion date of installation.

A: Contractually May 2023, however due to Whenua Maori property delays thru the Maori land court the project might extend to July/ August 2023

Q: Best indication available on per property cost estimate

A: The rate for the scheme has not been finalised yet, thereby we do not have an accurate estimate as to what the overall cost per property is at this time. This will be discussed by Council when the project nears its completion and a decision will be made on the final level of repayment rate.

Q: Please update on progress with Whenua Māori land issue and expected resolution.

A: Discussions continue regarding individual blocks, with owners and trustees of those blocks, effected by the scheme.  Responses so far have been largely positive. Certain technical issues were recently heard by the Maori Land Court and advice is yet to be issued.

Q: We receive feedback from some owners with whom agreement has been reached but don’t know where they sit in the queue.

A: As mentioned we have 85 properties scheduled for installations and as such cannot guaranteed fixed dates for those installations until we are confident of the date (1 month before). Keeping in mind delays due to weather has a significant ripple effect throughout schedules.

Q: There is also the matter of property owners who Council have not connected with yet. We are happy to encourage them to make contact with council or Fulton Hogan if you let me know who you want them to contact.

A: Landowners can make arrangements for site visits to discuss the installation and location of Biolytix systems by emailing our new project team member Leo Morley from WSP at Leo.Awata‐Morley@wsp.com. Alternatively, the Engineers Representative can be contacted at gerhardus.mostert@rotorualc.nz, 027 214 1820

Q. We hear a lot of positive feedback on the installs and standard of reinstatement around the tanks, We also receive a few comments about punga fences and drives not being reinstated. Winter won’t have helped in some cases, but perhaps going back after leaving site might sometimes be missed?

A: To date we are completely caught up on reinstatement delays. We struggled with grass seeding, as it did not take due to the weather conditions. As such, we opted to leave some sites raw or to implement gravel as an interim solution.

Update - August 22

RLC advise that despite the ongoing challenges, progress is tracking well with 60 installations completed and 76 properties booked for installation. Our prioritisation of Biolytix system installs for the next few months will be on completing those that have been booked.

While installations are underway, staff are continuing to meet with land owners to obtain archaeological consents and finalise individual locality plans.

Three Cultural Site Monitors are monitoring the on-site system installations at Kōmuhumuhu – Gisborne Pt. Ongoing support is being provided to Rotorua Lakes Council in the preparation of Heritage NZ authority applications for Kōmuhumuhu, Te Tuarae (Taurua Marae area), Matarēhua Pā (Waione and Moose Lodge area).

The Whenua Maori Project is progressing slowly but moving in a positive direction. Application has been made to the Māori Land Court for a Judicial Conference and receipt of our application has been notified. Rotorua Lakes Council is now awaiting guidance from the Māori Land Court on next steps.

Fulton Hogan advise that the poor winter weather has had a noticeable effect on our operations. Throughout June, 20 of the available 30 days recorded a measure of rainfall. To reduce the impact to lawn areas, we continue to utilise our ground protection mats and geofabric cloth. Grass reinstatement is near on unachievable through this period of the year. Fulton Hogan are committed to returning to these affected properties through the spring period to complete the lawn reinstatement.

Their focus has recently shifted to completing installs on those properties that have no groundwater challenge. These are predominantly properties away from the lakefront around the Gisborne Point/Kōmuhumuhu area and along State Highway 30. In the coming summer season (October – April) period, our main focus will be to return to low lying properties or closer to the lakefront.

RLC's full report is available here.

Update - May 22

RLC advise that there are now 34 units installed and 21 scheduled. They are receiving very good feedback which is pleasing. Fulton Hogan are doing a great job of remediating land. They are considering producing a video of the installation process, that will be interesting for people that have not seen the work involved.

The Māori land issues are progressing in the meantime.

East Rotoiti Sewerage Scheme Update - April 22

Gerhard Mostert, of RLC advises that progress is tracking well with 24 Biolytix installations complete and 40 properties booked for installation.

Fulton Hogan advise that with the great spell of dry summer weather experienced over the previous 3 months, the focus has continued to be around properties where high ground water level is a challenge. As winter conditions approach, we intend to move away from these low lying areas and focus on “drier” sites. Due to an increase in bookings, Fulton Hogan will begin to bring in additional resources to assist with the programme delivery.

Read the full Rotorua Lakes Council report here including updates from the Ngati Pikiao Cultural Impacts Team, Fulton Hogan and before and after photos showing the tidy final result.

Biolytix Installation Progress, Open Day & Booklet - December 21

Catch up with the latest info on the installation of Biolytix sewerage systems at East Rotoiti. Including an Open Day on 29th January 2022.

Here are progress updates for the Rotoiti Rotomā Sewerage Scheme from Rotorua Lakes Council, Ngāti Pikiao Cultural Impacts Team and Fulton Hogan including information on an open day planned for Auckland Anniversary weekend – 29 January 2021.

Also available is this informative Biolytix pre-installation Information Booklet.


Update November/December 21

Despite the many challenges of Covid, some progress has been made recently. Fulton Hogan have now begun installing systems, following commencement of the process to meet property owners on site along with Council staff to agree location for their Biolytix Eco pod, and the outflow pipe to the roadside connection. Once agreed, a building consent application is submitted, and work can be scheduled once obtained.

Unfortunately the site visits to date have had to be limited to some permanent residents or owners from level 2 regions, and the first level 3 owners (including Aucklanders) can hopefully be seen post 15 December, provided freedom to travel from that date is not changed.

Priority is being given to failed/poor performing systems as Council becomes aware of them, and building sites, plus higher water table sites that will be undertaken in summer months.

As requested by LRCA, a public meeting is planned for the 29th January.

* RLC contact number for queries or request for site visit - 07 348 4199

Please address any concerns to LRCA.


Update October 2021

EAST ROTOITI SEWERAGE ON-SITE INSTALLATION

LRCA has kept in regular contact with the Rotorua Lakes Council regarding the East Rotoiti installation of on-site systems.

Our website is updated with all new information when it is received, and is also referred to in Email newsletters. You can see the 4th October update and the letter to residents here.

Members can also keep up to date with the scheme on the Council website, see links below:

www.rotorualakescouncil.nz/rotoitirotomawaterways

https://letstalk.rotorualakescouncil.nz/rotoiti-rotoma-sewerage-scheme

We remain hopeful that Council may host a Community meeting in January, as the planned Labour Weekend meeting was unfortunately discarded because of Covid.

Update August 2021 - From Lockdown

RLC response of 27 August 21 to LRCA request for an update from Council regarding on-site installations at East Rotoiti.

For those at Gisborne Point, please note that installation requires written approval to Heritage NZ. Remaining properties will not be installed until the Onsite Pretreatment and Archaeological Consent forms are signed. Approval form here.

Kia ora Roy and all

Thank you for the note below. As you would appreciate the lockdown has forced us to focus onto managing through staff rostering critical essential services and the general wellbeing needs of the community through our Emergency Operations and Welfare Centre. However we are still progressing as best we can our planning for normal works in many areas so in terms of your pertinent inquiry please note below;

The main service provider, Fulton Hogan, has been awarded the tender to install on-site systems in the East Rotoiti area as the final component of the Rotoiti/Rotoma Sewerage Reticulation Scheme. Currently Fulton Hogan and Council staff are developing the programme of works and are negotiating for a site to establish a temporary office presence for the duration of the works. Once the programme is submitted by the contractor and it is approved by Council it can be shared with the community. We hope to have this over the next couple of weeks. The contractor and Council officers have agreed to work to support and enable new builds and those properties with severely non-functioning existing systems (as priorities) but we do want to work through the sites in a logical and logistics management effective manner.

It is expected that each property owner will be contacted directly by Council/Contractor to discuss and agree with on-site specific details (as is appropriate for each property) and prior to commencing any actual on-site works on their property.

Heritage NZ has issued Council an Authority to undertake works at Komuhumuhu, but only on those properties that have signed a pre-approval. RLC will advise Heritage NZ of subsequent property approvals as they are signed off. Signing pre-approval is important as it will allow the contractor to concentrate on those properties and ensure that they are in compliance with the Archaeological Authority.

We are still planning to arrange a community meeting for labour weekend (pandemic of course willing) and will be communicating detail as it develops.

We are also progressing a broader communications plan for the term of the works whereby;

1. Key stakeholders in the community are identified (for regular feedback and to help with wider community information distribution)

2. Regular updates headlines and frequency of updates are drafted and

3. Communications methods (letters, Website, Meetings etc) established.

We are very aware that we do need to work with everyone to ensure as best as possible collaboration and constructive feedback on this final but challenging part of the scheme.

I trust that this provides you with the necessary for now response and will follow up with more as we progress.

In the meantime safe times and patience to all.

Nga mihi

Stavros MIchael, RLC.

Update July 2021 - Biolytix Chosen

We have been in regular contact over a number of years with the Lakes Council Infrastructure team to obtain updates and have posted the information we obtained for members. This being necessary due to very limited communications from Council.

Due to these ongoing proactive requests from LRCA, we received an invite recently to meet with Council and the Iwi Liaison group, whom Council have liaised with over meeting the Cultural obligations required by the resource consent for the scheme.

We were advised the progress with obtaining the full Council approval of the tender and the timetable for Council to despatch the letter to property owners confirming that approval and the decision of which system has been chosen.

That letter was received in the post on 19 July - copy here - and it advises that the Biolytix pre-treatment on-site system has been confirmed by Councillors. The letter provides other background information, including some numbers around scheme costs, planned inclusion of Rotoehu if funding is received, and that the final cost per property will not be struck until all costs are known. We sought estimated timeframe for confirmation of the agreed works programme, but that is not available yet.

It also refers to a further Community meeting, possibly at Labour weekend. LRCA will keep pressure on for that meeting to proceed. Installation should be underway by then, and the Community will want more information.

We have requested involvement in any periodical meetings to monitor progress with the installation programme, to represent the Community.

Update June 2021

RLC has requested additional funding from Mfe (Ministry for Environment) to close the funding shortfall due to higher scheme costs compared to 2014 estimates. If this additional funding is approved, a Community meeting will be held to explain funding  and tender outcomes.

Further to our March update, RLC agreed to meet with us in late April and we were provided with a summary of the current position. This aligned with the submission documents to Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Group that we subsequently obtained.

 

TENDERS

The tender evaluation exercise is complete and the preferred System and Main Contractor is now evident. That allowed Council to calculate the total scheme costs - actual Rotoma on-site installations, reticulation network, treatment plant and access road, and finally the onsite installations for East Rotoiti as per successful tender.

 

FUNDING SHORTFALL

Council has identified a circa $10m funding shortfall, (document here), and as previously predicted, a funding submission has been submitted to Mfe. We have obtained the two funding submission documents from the agenda of the recent Rotorua Te Arawa Strategy Group meeting - links above. We strongly recommend that Members read these as they provide very interesting information about the scheme, and in particular the reasons for costs increases that have caused the funding shortfall.

If that request is successful, it will restore the original 50/50 contribution between local ratepayers, and from the Funding Deed.

 

CONTRACT ADOPTION

If funding certainty is secured, the Infrastructure team will prepare the Contract Adoption recommendation (of Contractor and on-site system) to be submitted to the Finance and Strategy Committee of Council.

 

COMMUNITY MEETING

LRCA has consistently requested a community meeting for Council to explain its recommendation, the final cost per property, and installation timelines. Council has agreed and plans to arrange a community meeting before submission to the Council Committee. That may be in early June if the Mfe funding decision is received promptly.

If the Community and Council committee are in support, the recommendation will then be submitted to the full Council for approval.

Watch this space for further updates.

Update March 2021

Prior to most recent Committee meeting on 1 March, an update was requested, (email here), from RLC, and a response was received, (email here).

RLC's concluding comments regarding the on-site sewerage system selection and funding are: “Please be assured that the process remains as you outlined. i.e. Conclude funding and contract matters, advice to the local communities, then report to Council with recommendations. We do hope that March/April would be the correct time frame".

Key additional points from the RLC response were:

* Tender evaluation process is challenging

* A number of market pressures and specific Rotoiti area factors are driving capital supply and installation costs higher than expected.

* Options assessment for funding has been undertaken.

* Application was made at February meeting of Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy group to the MfE, (Ministry for the Environment), for a deed funding contribution for the scheme to reflect market costs changes.

* Officers are working with MfE to determine options

* Overall objective is to pursue net Ratepayer costs as close as possible to those estimated back in 2017

* Unable to provide more detail or timeframes for outcomes.

* Intention is to clarify with MfE, then advise the Community, then submit a report and recommendations to Council, (hopefully in April), regarding entering into a construction contract and agreeing the capital and operational funding plan.

* Council is aware of the time that this is taking, are navigating some difficult matters, and cannot provide more information until resolved.

LRCA is grateful for this prompt reply, however it does not provide us with the background to the ‘specific Rotoiti area factors’ referred to above, nor the reasons for additional funding being necessary.

However examination of the agenda (p25 to p31) of the 12 February 2021 ROTORUA TE ARAWA LAKES STRATEGY meeting, (available here), provides more information.

In summary, section 8.3 p28 states:

“The forecasted variance by the Rotorua Lakes Council is driven by anticipated costs associated with reticulating Lake Rotoiti sewerage".

The cost drivers are varied but predominantly have been led by:

* Construction inflation,

* Higher costs to meet consent conditions not known in 2015,

* Improving access to the leased land at Haumingi 9B3B site,

* Provision of higher quality pretreatment systems to address cultural impacts,

* Additional security of installation for pretreatment systems on 180 sites where the systems must be installed below the water table

* And special legal processes to secure consents to install infrastructure on Maori land with multiple owners.

The pages 25 to 31 provide some other interesting information.

* There is an outline of the funding deed in the 2005 Treaty settlement for specific lakes (including Rotoiti) of $72m for improving lake water quality.

* There is an outline on how the remaining funding may further assist the Rotoma/East Rotoiti sewerage scheme

* There are 3 recommendations:

1. Revert to the pre 2014 allocation of deed funds between RLC and BoPRC. Transfer funds from the underspend on previous schemes (Mourea, Otaramarae, Whangamarino, and others around Rotorua to assist funding shortfall for Rotoma/Rotoiti.

2. Review Deed funding as no provision has been made for inflation since 2005.

3. Provide funding to include Rotoehu and Ngamotu settlement in Rotoma in the Rotoma/Rotoiti scheme, (it can cater for the additional load)

* The report highlights that RLC has not made decisions on how to fund increased project costs stated of $8,337,500, (that remains despite any Deed funding decisions). Options to be considered as part of its long term plan deliberations may include:

1. Staying within current plan requiring property owners to pay an increased net capital contribution compared to initial estimate

2. RLC could make contribution to Marae, sportsclubs, schools

3. Increase its financial assistance from current $1500 per property

4. Obtain debt funding for part of the increase

5. Or a combination of the above

Property owners will be unhappy if RLC adopts option 1, or a combination of options, that imposes increased costs per property.

If so, the community may consider lobbying RLC; BopRC; MfE on this matter through LRCA and directly.

Members are welcome to provide their views to LRCA at lrca@rotoiti.co.nz.

Update 10 December 2020 - Christmas Newsletter Update

LRCA submitted a number of questions to RLC and requested a detailed update for our December Newsletter. Infrastructure Manager Peter Dine helpfully provided the following information (slightly
 abridged).


Project cost increases.

The Lakes Strategy Group has agreed to fund 50% of additional project costs. We will update costs at tender approval stage.

Shortlisted On-site systems specified for tender:



- Delos from Innflow (an improved STEP)

- BiolytixX

- Perco (a Hynds Product)



- Biorock

The last two are two chambered trickling filter systems that operate aerobically (i.e with oxygen).

On-site Systems

The pre-treatment systems provide an initial breakdown of waste before being pumped from each site to a pressurised reticulated pipe network which collects waste from all sites and transfers it to the plant. For the reticulation system back-up generators are provided at each pumping station in case of power failure. For on-site systems 24hr emergency storage is provided in case of power failure along with an alarm.


On-site system installation timeline.


We would envisage a minimum of two years to get all installed.

Land issue
.

This does not really affect progress. About 75% of properties can be connected now i.e. they front public road. We need to engage with each and every household for placement of tanks including Maori owned. Many of the households are also owners in the Maori Land blocks so we can do both at same time. We can't start talking to households until we know what system is going in as that does affect locality, reinstatement issues etc. We can work through the Maori land approvals as we go. Many do have to go to the Maori Land Court but the Court has been working with us on a process to manage this.

Update 8 October 2020 - Action Plan

LRCA has regularly sought improved communication from Rotorua Lakes Council regarding the sewerage scheme at East Rotoiti.

On 8 October LRCA received confirmation from Infrastructure Management that the tender invitations for the onsite pretreatment sewerage systems were sent to the 6 shortlisted main contractors the previous week, with the deadline in mid November.

They predict that the evaluation team will have reviewed tenders before Christmas. They plan to conduct community consultation about the preferred option in January during the holiday period.

They have agreed to work with Phill Thomas (Lake Community Board) and LRCA in regards to planning the Community Consultation.

At the conclusion  of consultation, management will submit their recommendation to councillors for the pretreatment sewerage system to be installed on east Rotoiti properties.

Update 14 September 2020

Rotorua Lakes Council’s latest East Rotoiti Sewerage update of 14 September 2020 advises that tenders for an on-site wastewater pre-treatment system to be installed at properties in east Rotoiti, will be undertaken over the next 3 months.

Following appointment of a contractor and system Council will engage directly with property owners regarding site location and other relevant site matters. This can only be done after it is known what system will be installed.Properties will then gradually be connected to the Rotoiti network which has now been largely completed. The contractor undertaking this work has now demobilised from site.

With regard to the onsite system that will be installed the council advises that: “Council is yet to tender the on-site systems for the Rotoiti area. Only when that tender process is complete and a supplier appointed can Council discuss with property owners details of on-site arrangements”.

A complicating issue for the council will be that for a number of multiple ownership properties the owners can not be easily identified and without the owners permission council cannot install pipes on these properties. This will no doubt cause additional delays in the completion of the installations for some multiple ownership properties until owner approval can be obtained and thus the overall completion of the project.

The full update is available here.

Update 18 August 2020

LRCA have been concerned at the lack of communication from RLC on progress with on-site installation of septic tanks for east Rotoiti. Council has previously advised it was about to invite tenders but that has still not occurred. 

We recently met with Phill Thomas, chair of community board and LRCA followed up with an email to management of Infrastructure team at council. A prompt reply was received from General Manager Stavros Michael, providing update information, and committing to ongoing communications. These two emails are now published on the Sewerage section of our website.

Also published is the report recently presented by Stavros to the Rotorua and Te Arawa Lakes Strategy group, seeking additional funding to meet some of the cost escalation between the 2017 estimate of $34m, and the final project costs. This amount will not be known until the project is completed. The meeting approved the exploration of this funding from the residual settlement deed funds.

A short update on Rotorua Lakes Council (RLC) activity that relates to lake water quality to the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group is also available.

LRCA will continue to interact with Council to obtain regular updates, and to meet with Council at the appropriate time to ensure we ascertain the factors that will influence the selection of the type of system that will be recommended to full Council for approval. Most particularly to understand the cost implications of options.

In its July 2020 updates the Rotorua Lakes Council advised that:

Tenders for an on-site wastewater pre-treatment system to be installed at properties in east Rotoiti, will be undertaken over the next 3 months.

Over the next two years, as engagement with home and landowners in the Rotoiti area continues, the new on-site systems will be installed and connected to the new reticulation network.

The capital contribution will not be levied until the scheme is completed and full costs known. This will likely be in two years time (2022).

Links to the RLC Updates:

Project Update - Protecting Waterways

Lets Talk - Rotoiti Rotoma Sewerage Scheme

Update May 2020

2019 has seen the Rotoma reticulation (network of pipes) being completed around August. This involved 22km of pipe work being laid from Matahi Spit to the Wastewater Treatment Plant located on Haumingi 9828 land behind Emery's Store. During that month, Rotorua Lakes Council conducted an official commissioning of the plant which included a pohlri at Taurua Marae and tour of the new facilities by those attending. The plant is designed to limit the amount of nutrients entering the lake and will treat wastewater to a very high standard before it is discharged to land.

The majority of Rotoma properties have now been connected to the network via their on-site STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) systems and are operating to the new scheme. The Rotoiti component of the reticulation project is currently underway and will extend to Tapuaekura Marae at the end of Curtis Road. The completion of this phase will see a total of 47.5km of pipe work having been laid. Work on identifying the preferred pre-treatment system for Rotoiti is progressing and intended to be finalised during 2020. The overall scheme has the capacity to expand the service area and will include the Lake Rotoehu community if an acceptable funding model can be secured.

As already known, there is currently a substantial capital budget of $35.3 million for the existing scheme which has been largely facilitated by Government, Regional and District subsidies. Around two-thirds of this has been expended to date. A total of 770 properties have been identified for connection to the scheme and there is a currently proposed targeted capital contribution from each individual property of $14,100 (GST inclusive) or $1,080 per annum over 25 years. This targeted rate will be applied following overall completion of the scheme (2020/21 ).In addition, once property owners are connected, they will be charged an annual maintenance fee (currently $540 GST inclusive) to cover operational costs which have been equalised across all reticulated properties in the District.

It has been accepted that these costs will be extremely challenging for many of our affected residents. Your Association in conjunction with the Lakes Community Board is continuing to seek possible options in reducing the amount of capital repayment. It should also be noted that low income earners could qualify for a partial rebate of overall rates. Inquiries may be made to Rotorua Lakes Council.

Lake Rotoiti Sewerage Schemes - A Brief History

Concerns over deteriorating lake water quality grew amongst Rotoiti residents during the 1970s and 1980s and continuing research improved local knowledge and understanding as to the causes. It became evident that septic disposal systems being used in our lakeside communities were to varying degrees a contributing factor towards this gradual degradation. Ensuing and persistent calls by LRRRA over several years eventually persuaded Rotorua District Council (RDC) to engage an external consultant group to prepare feasibility studies for 13 small communities within the District, including those around Rotoiti, and provide specific reports for each along with costing options for sewerage reticulation.

The next stage would be community consultation. Mourea/Okawa Bay and Okere/Otaramarae were equal second on the priority list and due to be consulted in 1997. Separate schemes for Gisborne Point and Hinehopu were scheduled for a later date. Council policy at the time was to fund new schemes 100 percent from general rates and given the ‘high capital costs’ implementation would likely be several years down the track.

As it turned out, 1998 brought about the revelation that the costs provided in the preliminary Consultants Report had been drastically under-estimated and current costings were prohibitively high meaning alternative options would need to be explored. A revised policy to deal with small community sewerage problems was now under development and clarification of responsibilities and funding implications would be addressed with Regional Council and Local Government NZ.

Notwithstanding further urgent calls from the lake communities, it would be another six years before commencement of the first of our lakeside schemes in Mourea/Okawa Bay. In 2004, RDC prepared a Statement of Proposal & Information Pack for Eastern Sewerage Schemes (Rotokawa to Otaramarae) detailing comprehensive costings. New policies would provide subsidised funding from the Health and/or Environment Ministries along with specific targeted contributions from BoP Regional Council and RDC. The balance of total capital costs after provision of subsidies would be borne by property owners within the scheme boundaries. Following resolute debate and submissions from LRRRA, RDC agreed that annual operating costs would be equalised across all reticulated properties within the Rotorua district. The Okere and Otaramarae scheme was completed in 2008 leaving the East Rotoiti communities to follow at some stage in the future.

The provision of sewerage reticulation to these communities was included in the RDC Long Term Council Plan of 2009-19. Proposals for the scheme to commence in Rotomā were contained in a Report to RDC Works Committee in March 2010 which summarised community submissions and included the implementation of a local sewer reticulation network and trunk main connecting to a wastewater treatment plant and disposal field located between Lake Rotomā and Lake Rotoiti intended to serve both Rotomā and East Rotoiti communities.

During the course of 2010, RDC newsletters were sent to East Rotoiti residents with updated information and the adoption of a recommendation to progress the detailed planning and design of the Rotoiti scheme to take in areas between Curtis Road and Morehu Road (Lake Rotoehu) and scheduled to be completed and operational by end of 2012.

More details emerged during 2011 which set alarm bells ringing amongst local residents. Firstly confirmation that the proposed treatment plant would be situated off Manawahe Road only some 500 metres from Lake Rotomā and an admission that the siting would allow nutrients to leach back into the lake. Secondly, the projected cost to individual property owners had ballooned out to around $18,000 which was clearly prohibitive and unaffordable for many households. Further RDC conducted meetings seemingly failed to acknowledge that, although a majority supported upgraded disposal, unreasonable costs would not be acceptable. Despite this, Consent applications proceeded without amendment and, following Hearings, were granted by BoP Regional Council.

In late 2011, appeals from Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Makino iwi representatives along with Rotomā/Rotoehu Ratepayers Association were lodged with the Environment Court citing both inadequate protection and cultural insensitivity in respect of the location and discharge from the proposed Treatment Plant. LRCA, as an original submitter, opted to become party to the appeals suggesting that the best means of resolution could be achieved through further mediation. In the event, failure to resolve iwi appeals through mediation and, unable to find an alternative treatment site following the Court’s invitation, RDC decided to surrender the existing consent in late 2012.

Renewed planning for the Scheme began in 2013. In 2014, an independent community group, the Rotoiti Rotomā Sewerage Steering Committee (RRSSC), was implemented by RDC to explore future options. This group comprised representative members from the two communities including technical advisors and a cultural impact team. From here, a preferred option was developed based on factors such as cultural preference, resilience in the event of natural disasters along with technical and social requirements. This recommendation was included as a Discussion Document in RDC’s Long Term Council Plan 2015-25.

Further progress made during the course of 2015 saw a local treatment site behind Emery’s Store, Rotoiti on Haumingi 9B3B Trust land being secured, work commencing on detailed plant design and Resource Consent requirements including cultural assessments. Locations for a Biolytix trial in Rotoiti were also finalised. An information pamphlet covering comprehensive details of the proposed scheme including approximate timelines was delivered to all mailboxes in the scheme area in December of that year.

More Information can be found on the Rotorua Lakes Council website.

Become a Member


At $15 (plus voluntary donation) the cost of membership is low, and it allows us to continue to represent the Lake Rotoiti community at district, regional, and central government level.


Join Now