Getting to the bottom of Fish Creek’s sewage problem
SEWAGE-AFFECTED wastewater running in Fish Creek’s gutters and pooling in open areas is threatening the health of residents, tourists and the environment, according to the Fish Creek Community Development Group.
The group has asked South Gippsland Shire Council to allocate $10,000 in its budget to undertake a survey of septics and sewage leakage in Fish Creek streets and its impact on public health and environment.
The threat to public health is also jeopardising the town’s economic security and development, the group says.
Fish Creek’s lack of sewerage has been a sore point for years, particularly as other South Gippsland towns such as nearby Meeniyan, and Poowong, Loch and Nyora have all swapped out their on-site septic tanks for a high-tech sewerage system at minimal connection cost to property owners.
Ageing septic systems have served Fish Creek for decades, but the Development Group says the town’s growth as a tourist destination is putting pressure on old infrastructure and compromising public health standards.
“You can smell it in the town and on the bad days it really stinks,” said group president Craig Privett.
“In this day and age no one should have to worry about the threat of illness because of household sewage polluting our town.
“It’s unpleasant for locals and a turn-off for visitors, who reasonably expect twenty-first century health standards when they arrive to enjoy our beautiful area,” he said.
A campaign for sewerage for the town is now underway.
A meeting last month of more than 80 townspeople passed a motion calling on the South Gippsland Shire Council to conduct a scientific assessment of the levels of sewerage pollution in Fish Creek.
The meeting also called on the State Government to fulfil its responsibilities under the Health Act and Environmental Protection Act and support a sewerage solution for the town.
With State Government investment in regional population growth and infrastructure, local businesses are looking to expand and thrive, offering jobs and prosperity into the future.
However, the Development Group says business growth in Fish Creek is constrained by the limitations of septic systems.
The group says sewerage infrastructure would remove the disadvantages and allow Fish Creek to flourish.
Sewerage connection cost is a concern for many people, but the Development Group believes there is a strong case for government financial assistance, and last month’s town meeting called on the State Government to provide sufficient financial support for a reasonable and affordable local sewerage system for Fish Creek.
“Safe wastewater treatment is essential basic infrastructure,” Mr Privett said.
“There is precedent for affordable installation of sewerage in other Victorian regional towns and an argument for equity for Fish Creek.”
The Development Group says the town is looking to work with government and community leaders who want to help solve this real problem for Fish Creek.
The group’s next meeting to discuss the sewerage campaign is at 7pm on Wednesday 28 April in the Oberon Room at the Fish Creek Hotel and all interested people are very welcome to attend.