Two of the waste disposal stations that serve boats on the Murray River at Mannum and Swan Reach will receive a $1.2 million upgrade, including upgrades to the onshore pumping stations.

The stations contain holding tanks for boats to pump out their sewage and grey water, reducing the amount of pollutants that go into the river – including disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli and nutrients that can cause algal blooms.

With about 3,000 houseboats currently registered in South Australia, the stations have been well used during the past 40 years.

There are 13 waste stations on the river, and some don’t have the capacity to handle sewage from larger, modern vessels.

Some of the waste stations are also not strong enough to deal with the load of mooring the bigger boats.

Demand from smaller boats has also increased, with EPA legislation requiring grey water and sewage from all river vessels be deposited at a waste station rather than being released into the river.

The station upgrades will begin soon, and will involve the modernisation of off-shore structures and on-shore pumping systems to cater for heavier vessels, and to increase capacity for liquid waste.

Work on the Mannum and Swan Reach stations is expected to be complete by June 2014.

Alternative pump-out facilities will be provided during the period of closure, and information on these arrangements will be provided when construction begins.

A further six of the river’s 13 waste stations will be upgraded in coming years.

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