In an industry first cross-border collaboration, South East Water and South Gippsland Water have worked together to bring the OneBox pressure sewer to the South Gippsland area,  allowing 445 regional properties to switch from septic tanks to mains sewer.

The connection to the mains sewer happened ahead of time and at significantly less cost than building a traditional gravity sewer network.

OneBox technology was developed by South East Water and commercialised by its wholly-owned subsidiary iota Services.

Connecting properties to the mains sewer is key to helping tackle public health and environmental problems caused by failing septic systems. The Poowong, Loch and Nyora Sewer Scheme has capacity for more than 1500 properties to connect.

The total cost saved using the OneBox platform on this project, compared to a traditional gravity sewer network, amounts to a huge $7.5 million, and the total time saving amounts to five years.

“Conventional deep sewer networks make sense for high density environments, but would have been cost-prohibitive for servicing this regional community,” Managing Director South Gippsland Water, Philippe du Plessis, said.

“The smart pressure sewer network enabled by the OneBox allowed us to provide modern wastewater services to our residents that won’t spill and benefits both our customers and the local environment.”

How OneBox works

In conventional sewer systems, household waste and greywater are sent into the larger network as soon as someone flushes a toilet or takes the plug out of a bath – meaning that sewers need to be large enough to cope with maximum peak times, like in the morning when everyone may flush or shower.

With the OneBox platform, wastewater is stored in a small storage tank at each house, which feeds into a reticulated network.

Wastewater is intelligently released by OneBox so that the network can smooth out peak flows. Without peaks, the diameter of sewer pipes can be smaller and the treatment plant doesn’t need to manage as much capacity.

On this project, it also meant the construction could occur using low-impact drilling without large-scale excavation – with minimal impact on residents and the environment.

Proven results

The cost savings offered by OneBox meant that sewering could be realised in such small towns in a more economical way – and shows how this technology has the potential to not only revolutionise communities traditionally reliant on septic tanks, but the way water and sewer corporations plan, design and operate sewer schemes together.

Construction of the Poowong, Loch and Nyora Sewerage Scheme has enabled the townships to develop and progress without the environmental impact of aging septic systems.

“One of the greatest benefits of using the OneBox platform to manage the pressure sewer system, I would say, has been the lack of the disruption to the community and our customers during construction,” Mr du Plessis said.

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Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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