A message from the Mayor - March 2021

Published on 31 March 2021


For several years, the West Wimmera Shire Council (WWSC) has been advocating for an improved sewerage system for Goroke. Goroke is one of the largest towns in Victoria still relying on septic tanks for efficient disposal. Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water (GWMWater), our local water authority, and council have discussed the issue numerous times: GWMWater has put forward an excellent solution called a Septic Tank Effluent Disposal (STED) System and works have commenced.

In the past, the State Government provided funds through the Small Towns Sewerage Grants for such projects. This subsidy is a good thing as by law, all properties are required to dispose of their wastewater within the boundaries of their own properties and this needs to have expert oversight by the water authority and our environmental health department.

Sometimes lots of land and houseblocks are too small for septic systems to ever be able to sufficiently hold untreated water. Blocks might also sit on heavy clay soils and this could cause the wastewater to pond, and create problems with odour, disease and drainage after heavy rainfall. Wastewater includes all water that is untreated leaving the sink, dishwasher, shower, toilets etc. As we know, clay takes some time to dry out and untreated wastewater mixed with stormwater compounds the expected time for wastewater to be held onsite. Obviously, it is not supposed to flow onto the street so bear in mind if you are a property owner with an overflowing septic system, you could attract substantial fines if our environmental health officers decided to inspect.

There are lots of positive things to note about the new system.  Firstly, it should encourage people who would like to build new houses or shops in Goroke to do so as they will no longer be restricted by having to build around the septic infrastructure. Secondly, odour and disease risk will be reduced as the new system allows wastewater to be collected in the septic tanks and then taken to an offsite storage site. And finally, that water, after some treatment and filtration, may be able to be used for grassed areas or various sites used for recreational purposes.

We are very happy that GWMWater has chosen to focus on resolving the wastewater and septic issues for Goroke and Council look forward to the completion of Stage One of the works over the forthcoming year. You can read more about the STED system and the project can be found here: https://www.gwmwater.org.au/our-water-supply/current-projects/goroke-sewerage-scheme

As a final note, I will say it is heartwarming to see Coronavirus restrictions lifting again, everyone becoming more social and our shire event calendar filling out again. It was wonderful to interact with the community at the Lake Wallace Community Consultation meeting regarding their strategic plan formulation and I hope to see the community out in force again at the launch of the short film about the Goroke Silo Art next Friday 9 April.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Easter.

Cr Bruce Meyer

WWSC Mayor