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Clearing up Murky Waters

Council would like to reassure residents with septic tanks and other on-site wastewater systems that they will not need to pay a $150 fee to Council.

It follows incorrect media reports about a Draft Domestic Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) discussed at Tuesday night’s Council meeting.

Councillors voted to defer adopting the DWMP as it was clear the community needed more information about the issue.

Mayor Ken Clarke OAM said Council had no power or authority to introduce a $150 charge, and this was not proposed in the DWMP.

“The DWMP proposes Council conducts a series of inspections of septic tanks, targeting particular areas. The cost for these inspections would be borne by Council, not the ratepayer of the property,” he said.

“In the Draft document, it mentions $150 as the approximate cost to Council of each inspection, and proposes Council allocate $15,000 to this in the first year. Council will not make any money out of implementing this plan – in fact it will incur costs."

Cr Clarke said there would also be a requirement for residents to arrange regular maintenance of their septic tanks, and that this would depend on the plumber they employ and how regular the maintenance was required.

“I want to make it clear that there are legislative requirements for Council to implement these recommendations,” he said.

“They are there to protect people’s drinking water and the environment.”

Cr Clarke committed to ensuring Council provided clear information to affected residents before the Draft plan was implemented.

“What’s become clear is that there has been a lot of misinformation on this topic and Council needs to provide better information to residents,” he said.

“We will be doing this and I would encourage anyone with questions to approach Council directly.”

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