Eight tanker loads of human waste a week trucked from Hāwea homes

by Lauren Pattemore - Apr 03, 2024

Hāwea's wastewater treatment plant is so overworked truckloads of poos and wees is taken from one newer neighbourhood in the township to an alternative treatment facility.

A 30,000-litre tanker transports eight loads of sewage from the Longview subdivision to Wānaka every week. 

New homes in Longview are not connected to the local plant because it is already at capacity.

Lane Hocking of Universal Developments, which is developing Longview, a Special Housing Area (SHA), says the plan was always for there to be truck transfers until the council system has capacity. 

However he is still waiting for that extra capacity, as it was not delivered by recent upgrades to the local plant in Hāwea.

The cost of trucking wastewater is paid for by Universal Developments, and the waste is transported twice a week in four loads.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council tells Crux the upgrades to the plant, completed more than a year ago, were not intended to provide more capacity, but instead improve the quality of the treatment.

"However, the performance of the upgraded plant is being monitored closely to assess whether there could be some ability to accept limited flows from the [Longview] SHA to reduce truck movements in the period until the pipeline has been constructed," a QLDC spokesperson says.

The pipeline referred to is the council's longer-term project that plans to connect Lake Hāwea's plant to Wānaka's Project Pure Wastewater Treatment Plant via a pipe. 

The council received $24 million from the government in 2022 as part of its “critical” infrastructure project funding to help build it. 

The council spokesperson says the estimated completion date for the pipeline is currently being confirmed with key stakeholders, however, an online council consultation page for the project says it will be finished in 2026.

All up, the SHA at Longview, which was fast-tracked to build, will have more than 400 homes once it's finished. 

Meanwhile, future lots adjacent to the SHA, also set to be developed by Universal Developments, must be connected to the council's wastewater plant, as per requirements of an Environment Court mediation between the developer, the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Hāwea Community Association.

At the end of May 2023, the court ruled in favour of Universal Developments to extend Lake Hawea's Urban Growth Boundary and rezone the land south of Cemetery Road to allow commercial development and more mixed-density residential housing. 

The court decision requires that "all new lots are provided with connections to council-owned and operated reticulated wastewater treatment and disposal systems".

Mr Hocking says the land owned next to the special housing area of Longview will not see any development until the wastewater infrastructure has been updated.

"We don't plan to develop this for several years," he says. 

Read more:

Hāwea's urban footprint doubles as Cemetery Rd boundary shifts south

Hāwea community group explains urban boundary about-face

Taxpayers to close $24m funding gap for Hāwea's 'poo pipeline'

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