Buller District Council


The Buller District Council operates three sewage treatment facilities. These are located in:

  • Westport – Contact Stabilisation Plant
  • Reefton – Oxidation Ponds (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Treatment)
  • Little Wanganui – Oxidation Ponds (Primary Treatment only)

These are all operated by WestReef Services Ltd under supervision from Council staff. These are all monitored frequently to ensure that all effluent leaving the facilities complies with their respective Resource Consents and is sufficiently treated prior to entering their receiving waterways.

Smoke Testing


Residents are advised that Westreef Services Ltd will be undertaking smoke testing in Westport at the following locations and times:

Date/time:          Tuesday 9 March 2021 between 8am and 12 noon
Locations:            Eastern side of Palmerston Street from Westport RSA to Surf Fevah on the Brougham St/Palmerston St intersection.

This may affect adjacent properties in Russell Street.

Affected residents will be notified by mail and be provided with an information sheet on smoke testing. The Fire Service has also been notified of affected areas.

The purpose of the smoke testing is to locate breaks and defects in the sewer system. The smoke will also reveal sources of where stormwater and other surface water can enter the sewer system.

A special non-toxic smoke will be used in these tests. The smoke is manufactured for this purpose, leaves no residue or stains, and has no effect on plant or animal life.  The smoke has a distinctive, but not unpleasant, odour. Visibility and odour last only a few minutes if there is adequate ventilation.

All residents are advised that if traces of this smoke or its odour enter your house or building, it is an indication that gases and odours from the sewer also may enter. These can be both unpleasant and dangerous, as well as a health risk to the occupants. Should smoke enter your home or business, please contact your plumber immediately.

Information gained from this testing will be used to improve your sewer services.

If you are unsure of the source of any smoke in your house or work place, please call 111

More information can be found below or by contacting Customer Services on 03 788 9111 or WestReef Services Ltd 03 788 9090.
Council appreciates the co-operation of residents during this time.

Smoke testing identifies breaks in pipes and manholes as well as locations where stormwater and other surface water can get into the wastewater system. Smoke testing is common practice around New Zealand and undertaken frequently as part of the maintenance of the wastewater system. The work is coordinated by council and carried out by WestReef Services staff.

Council has prepared an information sheet with FAQs to provide more information on smoke testing and how residents can prepare for smoke testing. Please view this information here A guide to smoke testing and what it means for you (269Kb).

For any queries or further information regarding smoke testing, please contact Customer Services on 03 788 9111 or WestReef Services Ltd on 03 788 9090.

Stormwater Infiltration – Westport

Prior to the commissioning of the Westport Wastewater Treatment Plant foul sewage and stormwater were often discharged to the same pipe which was then discharged to the receiving waterways. This stormwater infiltration now causes significant loadings on the plants during wet weather, with sometimes as much as ten times more flow entering the plants than during normal dry weather flow.

As some areas of Westport experience a considerable backup of sewage/stormwater during moderate to heavy rainfall, Council are investigating where stormwater infiltration can be removed. This may include the separation of stormwater at various residential properties.

Council would appreciate any efforts by property owners to separate stormwater from foul sewage lines on their properties, particularly in areas where problems exist. If you require advice please contact Councils Operations Division on 03 788 9111.

Orowaiti Sewerage Scheme

The Orowaiti Sewerage project has been operable since February 2009 with approximately 160 properties connected so far.

As the sewerage system is now operational ratepayers are liable to pay the targeted sewerage rate even if not connected.

Property owners were required to connect to the reticulation within this three year period up to 30 June 2012. A building consent is required to carry out drainlaying work on your property. Drainlaying work must be carried out by a registered drainlayer. Building consents can be lodged with Council at any time, they need to include an onsite drainage plan indicating where the new drainage lines will be located.

Once connected to the reticulation, the septic tank needs to be cleaned out by an suitably qualified contractor, and the tank filled with an appropriate material.

The new sewerage system is only designed to accept sewerage, therefore stormwater needs to be separated from any existing pipework and disposed of separately. It may be possible to then use the redundant septic tank as a soak hole for stormwater disposal if required.

A code compliance certificate verifying that all building work has been completed will not be issued until the septic tank has been emptied and subsequently filled.

Westport wastewater treatment

The Westport wastewater treatment plant was opened on Saturday 19 May 2007. It is a Contact Stabilisation Plant which uses an aerobic process to treat Westport’s raw sewage.

Want to know how the plant works?

Download our infographic that shows what happens from the house to the plant!

Sewage Pumping Stations

Sewage Pumping Stations are situated at the following locations:


  • Pakington Street (Adjacent Buller River)
  • Rintoul Street (Adjacent Buller River)
  • Roebuck Street (Adjacent Buller River)
  • Cnr Bright Street and Derby Street
  • Derby Street (Adjacent Kilkenny Park)
  • Kawatiri Place
  • Harkness Place
  • Riley Place
  • Cnr Craddock Drive and Orowaiti Road
  • Orowaiti Road (Reserve area opposite Snodgrass)
  • Cnr Brougham Street and Eastons Road
  • Cnr Brougham Street and Domett Street
  • Cnr Eastons Road and Domett Street

Carters Beach:

  • Cape Road/Golf Links Road intersection
  • Cape Foulwind Road (SH67B)
  • Marine Parade

Please contact Council is you see a light flashing on a pump station.

Sewerage problem?

To report any problems with sewage, or if any of the above pumping station lights are flashing, please contact:

WestReef Services: 03 788 9090
Buller District Council:
Westport: 03 788 9111 / 0800 807 239
Reefton: 03 732 8821 or 03 732 8092 after hours
Council Approved Contractors and Application to Install click here



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