Monitoring shows that commonly used beaches in Tauranga Harbour generally have good water quality although some areas become unsafe for swimming for approximately 48 hours (two days) after heavy or prolonged rain.
The harbour bed is generally in good health except for localised ‘hot-spots’ around stormwater outfalls and some areas where intense urban development is having a negative impact on wildlife such as sea grass and filter-feeding shellfish species.
The regional council has an extensive monitoring programme in place for the Harbour and its catchment. Bathing water quality is monitored from October to March each year, see our swimming water quality page for the latest updates.
For years large volumes of sewage and other contaminants were allowed to pollute the harbour.
We’ve turned that around in recent years by addressing the direct discharge of sewage, piggery and other effluent and industrial waste into the harbour, and working with landowners to reduce diffuse run-off of sediment and nutrients from their land.
Our ongoing work to reduce inputs of contaminants into the harbour, and streams that flow into it, includes:
- reducing sediment, nutrient and microbiological contaminant inputs from rural properties through our catchment action planning process.
- joint industrial pollution prevention programmes (with Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council) to target high risk industries such as concrete batching and concrete laying contractors, timber treatment and treated timber storage, service stations and truck stops, auto dismantlers, scrap metal dealers and automotive workshops. All high risk industries should have measures in place to minimise contamination of the soil and groundwater under the site and stormwater leaving the site.
- contaminated site management
- implementing our On-Site Effluent Treatment Regional Plan through maintenance zones at Ongare Point, Te Puna and Tanners Point to avoid untreated septic tank effluent from seeping into the harbour.
- reducing urban stormwater contaminant loads through enforcing compliance by Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council with their Comprehensive Stormwater Consents and Stormwater Catchment Management Plans.
- promoting the use of Low Impact Design into stormwater systems to reduce contaminant inputs into the harbour.
You can help
There are many simple steps you can take to reduce pollution into Tauranga Harbour: at home, work, around your garden or farm, and of course, on and around the water.
Find out what you can do to make a difference.