As part of a ground breaking new project, Yarra Valley Water is using probes as part of an innovative new trial aiming to deliver sewerage services to the Park Orchards community in Victoria.

Similar to the probes referred to in science fiction, these water quality monitoring probes will gather local data; however, they will be placed firmly in the ground on properties of willing participants. This environmental monitoring will occur periodically for the next four years inside a trial area of 100 properties, including Park Orchards Primary School and the main local shops.

According to David Diaz, Project Manager, the probes will help monitor the health of the local environment, to assess whether containing all treated sewage from septic tanks on each property is an environmentally sound sewerage solution.

“The findings from this trial project will be of huge significance in understanding how water can be reused within a community. All rural areas in Victoria and Australia will be watching this project with interest. The local community participation rate is currently 96 per cent from trial residents and we are very grateful to the residents who have agreed to take part in what could be a truly ground breaking trial,” said Mr Diaz.

“The aim of the project is to provide a fit for purpose sewerage system; to do this we need to look at various options. The trial will help us to assess the best sewerage service solution for the area at the lowest community cost.”

“Sewerage servicing options have continually evolved and septic tank technology has improved and dropped in cost.”

Providing that the tank is maintained and appropriately designed, this option is now worth reconsidering. Ongoing discussions with the local community have also highlighted an interest in maintaining the liveability of the area particularly during dry spells, and the possibility of retaining water for irrigation and amenity purposes.

“We will monitor the local environment before, during and after upgrades to septic tanks are completed. Monitoring will involve collecting information about septic discharge quality, local stormwater quality, local weather, and ground water conditions. We will liaise with EPA Victoria, Department of Primary Industries, Manningham City Council, and the Department of Health to ensure their requirements are met,” said Mr Diaz.

Further information on the Park Orchards Sewerage Project is available online.

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