Environmental Issues

Environmental Health is concerned with ensuring that appropriate standards relating to aspects of the environment that affect health and well-being are maintained.

In addition to the statutory responsibilities associated with food premises, liquor, offensive trades and other issues, Council's Environmental Health Officer can provide advice and assistance relating to a variety of aspects concerning public health, including:

  • The water we drink or use for recreation
  • The air we breathe, including indoor air quality
  • The sounds levels we experience
  • Housing conditions
  • Drainage and on-site sewage disposal
  • The discharge of trade waste
  • The prevention of pollution
  • The management of hazardous substances

If you have concerns in any of these areas, which are not answered by the following frequently asked questions, please contact the Customer Services Team at 873 4000 (local) or Toll-Free 0800 734 000

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. My neighbour burns rubbish – are they allowed to? 

    At the moment, there is no bylaw and people can burn what they want. However, it is an offence contrary to provisions of the Health Act to create a nuisance – an incident which is offensive or likely to be prejudicial to health. Talk to the offending neighbour first, if you can. If necessary contact us.

  2. I want to sell from a vehicle – are there any restrictions?

    Selling from a vehicle is subject to a licence – under the Hawker and Mobile Shop Bylaw – two testimonials/referees as to character will be required. The sale of food will require compliance with the Food Hygiene Regulations, in the same way as any other food business.

  3. I want to provide accommodation – motel, hotel, B&B, backpackers. Do I need a licence?

    No, but you may need a Resource Consent, contact our District Planner on (07) 873-4344. We are not involved in B&B’s unless there are five or more guests. If there are, then matters such as fire regulations, food safety standards and resource consents will need to be considered.In the case of backpackers especially, consideration must be given to maximum numbers to prevent overcrowding.If the premises is not on a council operated sewer, you should also be aware that additional activity may affect your onsite sewage system.We can offer advice on both issues.

  4. I think there is a problem with the drinking water.

    If it is the Council water supply and you have health concerns, please contact the Environmental Health Officer at Council. If you have other concerns, such as supply, pressure etc contact the Council's Services Engineers. Council can provide a list of certified water testing agencies who can assess the quality of your water supply.

  5. I rent a house and the water supply is no good, can anything be done? 

    It is an offence under the Health Act and Building Act to let a house without a potable water supply. This means a safe water supply, one which is not exposed to the risk of contamination by bacteria or chemicals. Make sure the owner has been notified and discuss with them. The Environmental Health Officer can visit, assess the situation and take the necessary action.

  6. I rent a house and it is defective – dampness, repairs, water supply, drainage system, can anything be done?

    Yes, standards are provided in the Building Act regarding unsanitary buildings. Notify the owner of your concerns, but we can assess the situation and take action if necessary.

  7. My house has a plumbing and/or drainage problem that needs attention 

    All plumbing and drainage work should be carried out by a Registered Plumber or Drainlayer. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to obtain a building consent to replace broken or defective plumbing or drainage. In these cases, the work will be inspected by Council's Building Control Officers.

  8. I’m buying a property which isn’t on the sewer, can I have a septic tank?

    On-site sewage discharges are controlled in Environment Waikato’s Regional Rules and applied by this Council.

    a. If your property has at least 2500 square metres of effective disposal area and there are no physical constraints to sewage disposal, an on-site system designed in accordance with NZ Standard 1547 should be suitable. A Building Consent will be required giving approval of design and location. The work will have to be supervised by a registered drain layer.

    b. If you have a section which is less than 2500 square metres or there are constraints on where on the site disposal can occur, then a higher standard of effluent and a certified design meeting a different Regional Rule will be required. Designs and options available will depend on the site constraints. The Environmental Health Officer can give advice on the choices available to you and may provide the necessary certification.

  9. I have some unwanted chemicals. How can I dispose of them?

    Because of the difficulty in safely receiving unwanted chemicals, which are often in unlabelled or leaking containers, it was decided not to provide a facility to receive them in the Ōtorohanga District. If you have such unwanted chemicals you should take them to a suitable disposal depot in another District, or employ a hazardous substances contractor to manage their disposal.

  10. I think my house had lead paint. Can it be tested?

    Yes, we carry out free testing. Bring in a sample with several flakes (some from each room, labelled and kept separate). To discuss implications, contact the Environmental Health Officer.

Talk to Us

For more information on environmental health issues, please contact the Customer Services Team on 873 4000 (local) or Toll-Free 0800 734 000.