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On Site Effluent Systems (OSET)

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Domestic wastewater disposal

The On-Site Effluent Treatment Regional Plan 2006 (OSET Plan) directs the management of domestic wastewater to protect water quality in the Bay of Plenty. On-site effluent treatment systems include septic tanks and associated soakage fields and advanced aerobic systems.

NOTE: Draft Plan Change 14 (OSET) to the Regional Natural Resources Plan will eventually replace the On-Site Effluent Treatment Regional Plan and is out for public consultation now. Click here to find out more about Draft Plan Change 14.

This booklet outlines what the options, rules and requirements are for domestic wastewater systems in the Bay of Plenty: Managing your wastewater - Building, buying and living in a property with an on-site wastewater treatment system (858KB, pdf)


In many parts of the Bay of Plenty, communities have been provided with sewers or reticulated wastewater systems. Where a sewer is available, then you must connect. This is subject to the provisions of the Local Government Act 1974 section 459. Your District Council or City Council should be able to advise you if your area has been or is scheduled for reticulation.

There are maps of some areas where reticulation has been provided in the OSET Plan.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has proposed a reticulation scheme for the Te Puna West Maintenance Zone. Find out more.

On-site Effluent Treatment Systems

Where no sewer is available you will need to provide an on site system which has been designed and constructed in accordance with the On-site Effluent Treatment Regional Plan. The purpose of the OSET Plan is to ensure that wastewater is discharged safely and that the effects are managed.

The systems must have been tested and approved.

There is a list of system designers.

If you are building a new home that will utilise on site systems, this will be approved as part of the Building consent process.

Some areas within the Bay of Plenty region, where there is evidence the environment is being adversely affected, have been deemed Maintenance Zones. If your property is within a Maintenance Zone there are some particular requirements. There is also a list of pump out contractors on the Maintenance Zone page.

To ensure the wastewater system is properly designed we have developed a Training Course for System Designers.

Read more about domestic wastewater disposal


Contact Bay of Plenty Regional Council:

  • for copies of the documents or maps
  • for information on septic tank maintenance, nutrient management and reduction options
  • for information on the proposed plan change process and provisions

Phone or email:

Contact your district or city council for information on reticulated sewerage schemes:

  • Rotorua District Council (phone 07 348 4199)
  • Western Bay of Plenty District Council (phone 07 571 8008)
  • Whakatane District Council (phone 07 306 0500)
  • Opotiki District Council (phone 07 315 3030