Chapel St treatment plant celebrates 50 years

Chapel street treatment plant forms a large part of Tauranga’s history with wastewater. The facility was built in 1969, until that point septic tanks had been the norm for Tauranga households. Fifty years later it is still going strong, quietly servicing the people of Tauranga. Time to celebrate this unsung hero of our city.

Built in 1969 at a cost of $1.6 million, the project was of one of the largest undertakings in Tauranga city’s history. Not only building the treatment plant but laying the network of pipes needed to connect inner city households was a complex job. Something hard to fathom being done today, as the city has built up and matured.

Now servicing 67% of households (the other the other 33% covered by Te Maunga), the plant was high-tech at its inception and today still operates at internationally high standards.

Tauranga City Infrastructure manager Nic Johansson says the scale of project to build Chapel Street was unprecedented and a huge step forward for Tauranga.

‘Being connected to the city wastewater network meant a far more hygienic, safe and environmentally friendly situation that continues to serve the city well in 2019,’ said Mr Johansson. 

Chapel Street in numbers

Number of households connected: 35,600 in Tauranga and 1,500 in Omokoroa
Flow in cubic metres a day: 30,600m³ per day
Number of chemicals used in treating water: 0 – yes, absolutely none

A small gathering to celebrate the plant’s anniversary was held last Friday 14 November. Council staff were joined by wastewater consultants Beca, alongside some former staff and elected officials. Tauranga City Waters manager Stephen Burton said the occasion was all about celebrating the team, past and present.

‘Not only was this a big step for the community of Tauranga, it was a step change for us as a council. A change made entirely possible by the team of engineers and builders who designed and constructed the treatment facility and the sewage collection network’ said mister Burton.

‘And that continues today. Most people don’t give it much thought, but there’s a huge amount of work and expertise that goes into managing the wastewater network.’ ‘From the engineers who manage operations and logistics, to the scientist in the labs monitoring the process and contractors who maintain the pipes. It’s people that make it all happen,’ Stephen said.

International Toilet Day

Today, international toilet day draws attention to the 4.2 billion people worldwide that don’t have access to a safely managed sanitation service. While poos and wees aren’t most people’s most favourite subject, we encourage you to give some thought to what it means to have access to a safe and reliable waste water network and appreciate the work that goes into managing that.

For more information on Chapel street and Tauranga City’s waste water plants visit: www.tauranga.govt.nz/council/water-services/wastewater/treatment




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