Bega Valley Shire Council in south east New South Wales is working with residents to improve the environmental performance of sewerage reticulation systems throughout the shire by reducing inflow and infiltration of stormwater during heavy rainfall.

The success of the collaboration is dependent on a $2.5 million Council capital works investment over the coming two years, as well as the elimination of residential stormwater pipes which are incorrectly connected to the Council’s sewerage network.

Bega Valley Shire Council Water and Sewerage Services Manager, Jim Collins, said a joint effort by Council and property owners is needed to improve the overall performance of the sewerage network.

“It’s important to understand that no sewerage system is entirely storm proof. When rainfall is heavy enough there is additional hydraulic load placed on the system,” Mr Collins said.

“During heavy rainfall we can experience inflow from residential stormwater pipes that have been incorrectly connected to the Council sewerage system.

“Many residents wouldn’t be aware of the problem, as it’s often a result of past poor plumbing practises. Typically the problem is a result of downpipes or other on-property plumbing fittings that have been connected to the sewerage system.”

Mr Collins said property owners with the non-compliant plumbing are being informed of the problem.

“The work in most cases is minimal, and we’re happy to answer any questions,” Mr Collins said.

“Council owned sewerage reticulation infrastructure is also being renewed and we are in the process of investing approximately $1.5 million on pipe-bursting and relining capital works this year.

“We live in a beautiful part of Australia where local industries such as tourism and aquaculture are reliant on pristine waterways. It is vital that we work together to eliminate stormwater related sewage spills.”

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