Hundreds of properties in Victoria’s central Yarra Ranges area will soon be able to move from septic tanks to a reticulated sewerage system, with Yarra Valley Water expanding its sewerage system.

Approximately 5.2km of pipe will be constructed in Yarra Junction, which eligible customers in Yarra Junction, Launching Place, Don Valley and Wesburn will be able to connect to. Once complete, gravity and pressure sewers will carry the wastewater to Yarra Valley Water’s existing wastewater treatment plant in Launching Place.

The new sewerage system will improve the quality of local waterways and the environment by eliminating sewage runoff from leaking or poorly maintained septic tanks — which ends up in drains and eventually local waterways — on properties that cannot contain their wastewater on site.

Odour on properties and in residential streets will also be improved and the new system will eliminate the need for customers to maintain their septic tanks after they connect.

Yarra Valley Water General Manager of Growth Futures, Chris Brace, said when finished the project would benefit the local environment as well as boost convenience for customers.

“We’re performing this upgrade to make managing sewage a more seamless and easy process for customers.

“Sewage runoff from septic tanks can pollute waterways and this project will help to prevent this, as well as soggy backyards and odours in the community, which also sometimes occur,” Mr Brace said.

Works have already begun to enable 150 properties in Yarra Junction to connect to the new system. An additional 200 properties in Wesburn, and 150 in Launching Place and Don Valley will be able to connect to the new system in 2020.

The new system has been designed to allow all properties to connect. However, some properties are suitable to continue onsite wastewater treatment and can choose to retain a septic system or connect voluntarily to the new sewerage network.

Up to 11,000 properties in the Yarra Valley, the Dandenongs, and the outer northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne were built before sewerage was available and still operate on septic tanks.

Many septic tank systems do not meet current standards and can be inconvenient and difficult for customers to maintain. Some customers do not realise that their septic tank is leaking and this can cause sewage runoff in backyards, drains and local waterways.

Works in Yarra Junction are expected to finish later in 2019.

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