Bio-Filtration Garden Forebay Catch pit | Ōtāhuhu Town Centre Streetscape | Boffa Miskell

Improving the stormwater quality of Ōtāhuhu was one of the key goals of the Ōtāhuhu Town Centre upgrade project. A number of bio-filtration gardens have been installed along the newly-refurbished streets to promote a healthy environment. The project made a unique shift in effective gross pollutant pre-treatment and management using catch pits.

During the design phase, the client challenged the design team to develop an improved rain garden forebay design that would filter the bulk of floating rubbish and sediment out of the incoming water from the road before it entered the rain garden, thus reducing the maintenance requirements.

The design team explored various options and collaborated with Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters, Council maintenance teams and Mana Whenua design representatives. A catch pit type forebay design emerged from the collaboration. It is unique and the first prototype to be installed in Auckland.

Water enters the catch pit via a precast concrete kerb entry unit and flows under a plastic baffle within a concrete catch pit, trapping floating rubbish and allowing sediment to settle. The catch pit is secured with a hinged steel lid and will be maintained by opening the lid and the use of a vacuum track. This involves less maintenance time and is more effective than collecting rubbish once it is within the rain garden.

Precast concrete was used for the catch pit structure, and Corten steel was used for the cover and kerb lintel. Precast concrete was chosen for its durability and low maintenance requirements. These precast units were paired with the Corten steel covers for safety and to conceal the rubbish and water. The tinted concrete finishes and Corten steel of the units blend well into the material palette of the overall Ōtāhuhu Town Centre Upgrade, in which a range of Firth concrete mixes and finishes were used.

From Day 1 of installation, the catch pit units have been effective in their job of catching rubbish and sediment. The ongoing success of these units will continue to be monitored with Healthy Waters to see if they can be implemented elsewhere. The catch pit concrete mould was made in steel to ensure the ability of Auckland Council to produce more quantities in the future.

Bio-Filtration Garden Forebay Catchpit – Ōtāhuhu Town Centre Streetscape Upgrade

Location: Ōtāhuhu Town Centre, New Zealand

Design Team: Boffa Miskell (Yoko Tanaka, Alex Smith, Mark Lewis)

Client: Auckland Council and Auckland Council Healthy Waters

Contractor: JFC

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at