Recent media coverage has outlined public concerns relating to raw sewage in Tasman Bay, particularly at Schnappers Point, a popular surfing spot. Council has confirmed that this sewage did not come from Council infrastructure.

It is not possible for the raw sewage that was reported, to have come from the Nelson North Wastewater Treatment Plant at Wakapuaka, due to the multiple treatments in place throughout the Council system. It is suspected that this waste is coming from recreational boats and ships emptying their waste in the area.

Sewage that reaches the Nelson North Wastewater Treatment Plant is treated and discharged via an outfall pipe which extends approximately 450m out into Tasman Bay. The sewage goes through multiple stages of treatment, firstly passing through screening at the Neale Park pump station before being further treated at Nelson North. At the treatment plant, the treatment process includes pre-screening, a trickling filter, clarifier, oxidation ponds and wetlands. 

In addition, the facility has a large "stormwater flow buffering capacity" in front of the treatment plant to cater for extreme rainfall events. The plant is operating as expected and is meeting all consent conditions.

Due to these measures in place, it is not possible for the raw floating sewage reported in the Schnappers Point area to come from Council infrastructure.

“It is disturbing to hear the concerns of the surfing fraternity relating to what they are seeing at Schnappers Point. We know this is not coming from Council infrastructure, so we need to work with the community to identify the source.

“It is possible that the waste seen by the surfers is coming from recreational boats or ships. We ask boaties in Tasman Bay to please dispose of their waste appropriately, and will be working with them to make sure we all take care of our environment,” said Chief Executive Pat Dougherty.