Council opts for system-wide review of community wastewater management schemes

Grant District Council will undertake a council-wide review of its community wastewater management schemes (CWMS), after a report revealed its Port MacDonnell system is operating over its original design and capacity.

Grant’s environmental services director Leith McEvoy revealed a council project that began in June and is expected to finish in November 2021 is seeking an in-depth evaluation of the CWMS at Port MacDonnell. The project will also provide a critique of other CWMS in terms of their current performance and operating levels against the system design.

According to Mr McEvoy, the Port MacDonnell CWMS, which was commissioned in 1996 and is connected to the SA Water Finger Point Treatment Plant, is currently operating over its original design and capacity. “Sections of the Port MacDonnell CWMS network function well and require minimal attention from council staff and contractors,” Mr Leith wrote in his report. “However, other parts of the system periodically experience stormwater ingress pressures and high saline discharges from the local fishing industry.”

Mr Leith said these challenges had resulted in pump failure, emergency actions to manage loadings across the network, and regular communication with customers. He added that, over a number of years, council has made a capital budget allocation of $134,000, initially to fund a redeveloped area to hold de-sludge bags at the Port MacDonnell Waste Transfer Station.

However, following an incident several years ago with these bags, the bags are no longer stored at Port MacDonnell and the old bunded area has been removed. An allocation was again made in the 2020/2021 council budget. Mr Leith said that council officers were now proceeding to use some of the budget allocation to proceed with a project, which will have a greater scope to assess council’s other CWMS systems at Tarpeena, Allendale East, Pelican Point, Cape Douglas, and Donovans.

Councillor Brad Mann moved that council receive and note the report and its findings and that council endorse HDS Australia, which has previously worked with council on CWMS projects, as the consultant to undertake the associated project. Cr Shirley Little seconded the report.

The project intends to provide council with clear future direction on its CWMS systems and the disposal of biosolids. In addressing the matter, council also approached SA Water about a possible connection point for the de-sludge material at Finger Point Treatment Works.

An initial cost for such a connection point was significant, Mr Leith reported.

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