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MFEM confirms preferred option for future wastewater treatment

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

MFEM has confirmed a reticulated wastewater system with tertiary-level treatment and land-based disposal is the preferred approach to the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project. The MTVKTV Project Management Unit is now preparing the draft design and draft Environmental Impact Assessment for consultation later this year.

The Cook Islands Government (CIG), through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM), set up Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai (MTVKTV) to improve the water quality of the lagoons in Rarotonga and Aitutaki for the benefit of our health, environment and economy.

In Rarotonga there are increasing concerns about Muri Lagoon’s health, triggered by seaweed outbreaks in the lagoon.

Extensive scientific research has confirmed that on-site wastewater systems are the leading cause of Muri Lagoon’s poor health and resulting seaweed growths. However they are not the only cause, so additional changes will also be needed to restore the lagoon’s health.

MFEM Financial Secretary, Garth Henderson says that “Doing nothing is simply not an option, as this would lead to a continued decline in Muri Lagoon’s health. A centralised public wastewater system is necessary to save Muri Lagoon for future generations. We expect a similar system will also be needed in other coastal areas around Rarotonga at some point in future, to prevent the same problems from happening.”

MFEM has confirmed preference for a system that provides a high level of wastewater treatment and disposal to land.

MFEM is calling upon landowners to help find suitable land for disposing of treated wastewater. Landowners will be compensated, and there are also opportunities to create a new income from the land through management of suitable crops.

Mr Henderson says that “If suitable land is not identified, an ocean outfall will then be the only viable option. This last resort would be necessary to save the way of life and economic benefits provided by our beautiful lagoons. We appeal to landowners to help us progress the land based option by coming forward to offer land.”

If you think you have suitable land to offer the project, or would like to register your interest in the public meetings, please contact the PMU on 28851 or email

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