​Wastewater is used water from home, business and industry sources and it includes all liquid that drains from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom.

Wastewater is 99.9 percent water. The remaining percent consists of organic matter, food scraps, greases, oils and debris such as sand, grit and plastic.

The wastewater network services 50,000 households, and provides trade waste services to 4,000 commercial and industrial premises.

To deliver the wastewater activity, we:

  • Protect the health and safety of the community and the people who provide the activity
  • Provide a reliable, resilient and responsive wastewater service
  • Plan for future growth and demand
  • Ensure sustainable, environmental and economic delivery which meets customer expectations

Managing wastewater

Hamilton City Council is responsible for managing the network and providing for the safety of the community and our environment.

Hamilton City Council provides and manages the reticulated piped wastewater systems within Hamilton City. These systems carry wastewater to the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Pukete, where it is treated before discharge.

Council owns and operates all the assets from the customer property boundary to the treatment plant effluent outfall which are used to collect, convey, treat and dispose of wastewater and trade waste. These assets include:


Stormwater and wastewater systems are very different.

  • Stormwater is uncontaminated and can be discharged directly to waterways.
  • Wastewater is contaminated, and must be fully treated, to remove the contaminants, at the Wastewater Treatment Plant before being discharged.

It is very important that stormwater is not directed into the wastewater system, and that wastewater is not directed into the stormwater system as this can result in overloading of the systems or untreated wastewater entering the environment. This can significantly affect public health, the system and the environment.

Wastewater connections

Hamilton City Council has a wastewater connections process that enables Council to manage the wastewater network. 

See Connections for information on how to connect to the Hamilton City Council Wastewater System.

Wastewater Treatment Plant – Pukete

The Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant is Hamilton's only wastewater treatment facility. 

Hamilton’s treatment of wastewater is a complex process involving primary, secondary and tertiary treatment stages. The aim of these stages is to remove materials such as solids, oils, greases, bacteria, chemicals and heavy metals from wastewater. Treated wastewater (effluent) is discharged to the Waikato River. 

The end products of wastewater treatment are fully treated effluent and biosolids.


Wastewater Treatment Plant history

Hamilton has a history of 700-800 years of Maaori occupancy with the Waikato River providing the necessities of life. The first permanent European settlers arrived in 1864.

By 1913 the Frankton Town Board was providing a public water supply and the first of 14 community septic tanks were constructed in 1925. These tanks discharged into the Waikato River and Waitawhiriwhiri Stream and were supported by a network of pipes and pump stations.

In 1975/76 the Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant was commissioned and the septic tanks were taken out of service. The plant consisted of a screening and primary sedimentation prior to discharge to the Waikato River.

In 2001 a substantial upgrade occurred providing secondary treatment, chlorine disinfection was replaced with UV and solid stream and centrifuge improvements were made.

Council obtained a new resource consent in 2007 to continue to discharge treated wastewater into the Waikato River. This consent included a number of stringent conditions in regards to the quality of the treated wastewater discharged which influenced the third upgrade.

A third upgrade (commonly known as Pukete II Upgrade), completed in 2014 ensures the plant has the capacity to meet the demand of today and improve compliance with resource consent conditions in relation to quality.

In 2013, Council ceased the practice of sending our biosolids to landfill. These are now transferred to a private vermicompositing[1] facility in Tokoroa where they are treated further and re-used for land remediation.

[1] Vemicomposting is the process by which our wastewater sludge is added to wood chips and through the use of worms a highly organic compost is created. This compost is then used for land rehabilitation.

The plant is planned to be upgraded​

Tour information

Hamilton City Council conducts tours at our Wastewater Treatment Plant for interested groups of people. 

The tour will explain the water treatment processes and provide a general overview of Hamilton’s water supply. 

Tours are tailored to the audience and are intended for:

  • General public
  • School groups (Year 5 and above)
  • Special interest groups

Tours can be arranged by completing the online registration form or by downloading the hard copy form below and returning. 

Alternatively, please ring City Infrastructure on (07) 838 6999.

Page reviewed: 12 Dec 2019 4:23pm