Park Orchards Sewerage Trial Project
We undertook a trial in Park Orchards to understand the benefits, challenges and feasibility of providing sewerage services onsite by installing and operating onsite wastewater management systems (commonly known as septic systems) on customers’ properties as an alternative to connecting them to a reticulated pressure or gravity sewer network.
About the Trial
In 2017, we upgraded or installed new onsite wastewater management systems for 61 customers who chose to participate in the trial.
In June 2020, at completion of the trial, the outcomes were:
- Forty-five properties were containing their wastewater onsite
- Seven were containing their wastewater onsite but might not be if water use increased to the level for which the system has been designed
- Eight were not containing their wastewater onsite
- One property had left the trial
Key Findings from the Trial
- Provided they are designed, installed and managed correctly, onsite systems can and do perform to the standard required by legislation and they have environmental, financial and health outcomes equivalent to reticulated sewerage.
- Though non-containment was higher than anticipated, in some cases it could have been prevented. There were design and construction issues underpinning system performance that could be managed and mitigated on future projects.
- The underperformance of onsite systems was exacerbated by the types of onsite systems currently installed and available on the market.
- There is a potential for the environmental benefits of onsite systems to be enhanced further through the local reuse of treated wastewater.
- Our customers value equity, particularly in relation to access to reticulated sewerage. That is, if piped sewerage is available in a street or small area, we cannot expect to service some properties using an onsite system.
Is onsite servicing feasible in Park Orchards and Ringwood North?
No, based on our experience from the trial, it is not recommended to include onsite systems when developing options for sewerage servicing in the Park Orchard Orchards and Ringwood North Community Sewerage Area.
The main reason is most properties in Park Orchards and Ringwood North lack the necessary space required to manage their wastewater.
The Park Orchards Trial Community Engagement Panel
Thank you to the Park Orchards Trial Community Engagement Panel members, and Park Orchards and Ringwood North customers and community groups who contributed to the success of the sewer servicing trial.