Sewering Coastal Villages Project

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Bellingen Shire Council in partnership with the NSW Government is investing $22 million to deliver the Sewering Coastal Villages Project, which will see the sewer connected at Mylestom, parts of Raleigh and Repton and the Raleigh Industrial Estate.

These bipartisan efforts to deliver best management wastewater infrastructure assets to protect the health of the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers was a fantastic outcome for our Shire.

Our own Community Vision identifies that we all want clean water which is protected and used sustainably which is why we have invested $11 million to protect the regions aquaculture and tourism industries.

The NSW Government had invested over $11 million to Bellingen Shire Council for the design and construction of sewage systems in Mylestom, Repton and Raleigh.

The Urunga plant will also be upgraded to provide capacity for the expanded sewerage network, addressing environmental issues relating to on-site systems. 

Where is the sewer being connected?

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The Sewering Coastal Villages Project will connect the sewer to Mylestom, parts of Raleigh and Repton and the Raleigh Industrial Estate, inclusive of the following:

Fast Facts about The Sewering Coastal Villages Project Project

  • Connect the sewer to approximately 234 residential lots, a small number of commercial properties and up to 100 industrial lots at Raleigh.
  • Capacity to connect the Norco milk factory to the sewer.
  • Connect Repton School to the sewer.
  • Connect Mylestom Hall to the sewer.
  • Install 20.5 kilometres of sewer mains.
  • Install a pump station at the southern end of Mylestom.
  • Upgrade the Yellow Rock Pump Station.
  • Double the capacity of the Urunga Sewerage Treatment Plant.
  • Provide recycled water for new residential sub-divisions in Urunga.
  • Install upgraded ultra filtration, chlorination and UV treatments at the Urunga Sewerage Treatment Plant.

What is a pressure sewer system?

Low pressure sewer systems convey wastewater from your home to the regional wastewater treatment facility. Unlike gravity connection, they use a small pump station located at each house to move wastewater through the transmission system.

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Why is the sewer being connected?

The Bellinger and Kalang Rivers have been closed on numerous occasions due to repeated instances of faecal contamination.

These closures, which have impacted on public health and the health of our rivers, wetlands, oyster farms and local businesses, can largely be attributed to failing septic tanks within the project area.

That is why it is important to connect the sewer to properties identified by the Sewering Coastal Villages Project to prevent further instances of faecal contamination.

There are currently 246 on-site sewage management or septic systems within the project area and 105 of theses systems have been as high risk during previous Council inspections.

When will the sewer be connected?

The Sewering Coastal Villages Project is currently on hold while Council seeks additional funding to complete the full Project Scope.

Who is paying for the Sewering Coastal Villages Project?

Bellingen Shire Council in partnership with the NSW Government is investing $22 million to deliver the Sewering Coastal Villages Project.

Will land owners have to pay for the sewer to be connected to their property?

  • Residential Properties: there will be no connection cost if the new grinder pump is to be located adjacent to the decommissioned septic system
  • Commercial Premises: if the property uses less than 20 kilolitres of water per day the owner of the Commercial Premises will be charged 25% of the connection cost. Commercial Premises using more that 20 kilolitres per day will be charged the full connection cost.
  • New Developments: New Developments will be charged the full connection costs for internal infrastructure and their usage component of external infrastructure (similar to Section 64 Charges).

 

FAQs

Is my property part of the sewerage scheme?

Please refer to the Sewering Coastal Villages Document Section on the main project page, or click here and enter your property address into the search function.

 

What are the costs for residential property owners?

Council will cover the cost of the connecting pipe work if the new grinder pump is to be located adjacent to the decommissioned septic system.

Note: this infers that the property owner will be required to pay for pipe work in situations where they choose to have the new grinder pump not located adjacent to the decommissioned septic system.  This is not a common scenario as most property owners are happy to have the new grinder pump located close to the decommissioned septic system.

Is it compulsory that my property is connected to Council's pressure sewerage system?

Yes - property owners must connect their dwelling to the reticulated sewerage system. Bellingen Shire Council will undertake all required works. 

Why does Council require my email and/or phone number?

Council would like to keep residents regularly updated in relation to the project.

As part of the project, the Contractor will also need to arrange for a time to meet with each individual property owner to elect the most suitable location for the pressure sewer unit on each property. Each resident must be able to be contacted to arrange a time for this to occur.

Is there a cost to decommission my existing system?

There is no cost to decommission your old system as Council will decommission the unit as part of the project. However, Council will not fully remove the old system, so if you require it to be removed after decommissioning that will be at your cost.

Once the existing system is decommissioned, do the absorption trenches remain, or is it a requirement to undertake further work on them?

Absorption trenches can remain.

Will there be ongoing operating costs to property owners?

Yes there will be ongoing costs for landowners once the sewerage is connected. 

Land owners will be charged a sewerage fee for use of the system, like all of the other land owners with sewerage connected across the Shire. In 2020 the sewerage charge is $1031 per annum for residential properties with the standard 20 mm meter, with an $87.50 annual pensioner discount. Larger meters are more expensive. Commercial premises will pay a sewage usage charge of $1.25/kl. Some commercial premises will need a trade waste licence and be charged for discharging into the sewer. 

The type of sewer system being used also needs electricity to run. This will be a cost to the land owner. Council estimates that this charge will be between $40 and $50 per year. 

Once the sewer is connected land owners will not have the cost of pumping out the septic tank or paying septic inspection fees. Pump out costs depend on the number of people using the septic system and cost between $300 - $400 per time. The septic inspection fee is $94 per time. 

A new septic system costs between $10,000 and $15,000. 

Is the sewer scheme going to open up the coastal villages for further development?

No, Council is connecting the sewer to the coastal villages because of the public health and environmental benefits.

Overall there is limited potential for growth in the sewer system areas. The system is only being sized to accommodate a limited number of extra connections consisting of identified infill, vacant blocks and a minimal number of town house developments.

Once the sewer system is in place the capacity of the system will not be able to be increased in the future to respond to new development. Rural land that has already been zoned for development will be accommodated by the sewer system but there will be no capacity within the system for any new land releases.

The land on the corner of Keevers Drive and Perry’s Road in Repton is currently zoned for residential purposes. While the land is yet to be developed, there is the potential for over 200 new residential lots to be accommodated on the land (subject to a detailed subdivision design). This kind of subdivision is referred to ‘greenfield development’ The sewer system will be able to service this land if it is ever developed.

In January 2020 Council approved the Bellingen Shire Local Housing Strategy. This 20 year strategy outlines Council’s approach to future growth across the Shire. The Strategy commits to new growth within existing towns through well designed infill rather than releasing further rural land for subdivisions. It includes infill growth goals for different locations across the Shire over 20 years. Overall Council anticipates that half of the Shires growth over the next 20 years will come from well- designed infill with the remainder coming from subdivisions on land that has already been zoned for development. 

The infill growth goal for Mylestom, Repton and Raleigh is 56 dwellings over 20 years. 

Significant growth is expected in Urunga over the same period. There is land in Urunga currently zoned for development that has the capacity for up to 1,000 extra dwellings. 

What will happen if Council sees unapproved structures on properties when the sewerage system is being installed?

Council will offer an amnesty on unapproved structures/buildings to land owners in the Scheme’s footprint. Council will work closely with owners to provide guidance and advice on what applications need to be made to Council in order to have these structures/buildings assessed. Each application will be assessed on its merits in accordance with the relevant planning legislation.

What should I do if I want to replace my existing septic system before the project begins?

You should hold off or complete minimal repairs to keep the system operating until December 2022. However, if the system has completely failed you must replace it at your cost.