THE heavy rains and flooding that have ravaged much of the state in recent times have left South Gippsland largely unscathed. While parts of the state received between 100ml and 200ml of rain in a matter of hours last weekend, and parts of Melbourne and West Gippsland, including Koo Wee Rup, were deluged, the Foster district recorded rainfall in the vicinity of 60ml only. This fact, combined with the warmer weather the district has experienced of late, has enabled construction to recommence at the Meeniyan sewerage scheme lagoon and wetlands site adjacent to the South Gippsland Highway.
The sewerage system construction process is made up of three parts. Construction of the first two stages – the town reticulation system, which collects the waste from the houses and businesses, and the pump station and rising main, which pumps and transports the waste from the reticulation system to the lagoon system, has been completed.
The final stage consists of a lagoon and wetlands system that will treat the wastewater to a standard that is available for re-use in the community.
South Gippsland Water had to delay the completion of this final stage because significant rainfall last winter and spring completely saturated the site. The waterlogged conditions made the site unworkable for the earthworks contractors.
The construction of the lagoon system commenced in November 2009. Once completed, they will cover an area of five hectares and will eventually have a combined volume of 64 million litres made up of the three treatment lagoons and three wetlands ponds.
Although there was further rain last week and the sub-soil remains damp at the site, the contractors have managed to improve the drainage and change the construction technique to continue works while the sun is shining. The process is that the lagoon surface must be ‘dry compacted’ to ensure it is water tight and meets EPA standards.
Weather permitting, earthworks on the first three lagoons are due to be completed by early March, with the entire system up and running prior to the recommencement of winter rains.
The managing director of South Gippsland Water, Steve Evans, commented this week: “There is approximately three months of work remaining to be done on the lagoon construction. South Gippsland Water are pleased works are able to recommence and will complete this system as soon as we can. Ultimately, this will result in a system that will be of great long-term benefit to the community, the environment and tourism to the region.”