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Domestic Wastewater Management Plan

The Mansfield Shire Council Domestic Wastewater Management Plan (DWMP) was developed in partnership with Goulburn Murray Water, Goulburn Valley Water, Murrindindi Shire Council, the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

The DWMP was adopted by Council in August 2014 and is comprised of two documents:

A  Background Report 6.87 MB PDF outlining:

  • Population and development trends
  • Federal, State, Regional and Local policies around catchment management, water quality, land use and development
  • The location and characteristics of declared water supply catchments within the Shire
  • Current wastewater management practices and reticulated wastewater/potable water infrastructure
  • The recommendations made by several scientific experts commissioned to assist with the preparation of a risk analysis framework to assess the potential adverse cumulative impacts from unmanaged domestic wastewater
  • The results of resident/landowner, land capability expert and local plumbers/service technician surveys about current wastewater management practices.

The Domestic Wastewater Management Plan 1.61 MB PDF which is a strategic document that: 

  • Identifies whether the Shire's catchment areas are at high, medium or low risk of adverse public health and environmental impacts from unmanaged wastewater
  • Sets out management strategies to address these risks in an Action and Resource Plan that spans the five year life of the Plan - resources are to be initially focused on better managing wastewater in high risk areas
  • Explains how all stakeholders need to work together to better manage domestic wastewater impacts to enable our unsewered towns and rural living areas to continue to grow
  • Outlines an education and inspection regime to better inform residents and landowners of their obligations around onsite system maintenance and ongoing compliance with permit conditions relating to their on-site wastewater management system
  • Summarises how the progress of the DWMP's implementation is to be tracked by Council and water corporations
  • Contains a series of risk maps that identify whether land is within a high, medium or low risk area.

A DWMP Community Handbook 648.16 KB PDF has also been created to assist landowners.

FAQ's

  • What is a DWMP?

    The purpose of the DWMP is to scientifically identify areas where there is potentially a high, medium or low risk of domestic wastewater damaging public health, the environment and waterways.

    Armed with this information Council has been able to develop, along with its Project Partners, initiatives that will ensure potential risks to your health and the environment are actively managed.  The plan has a five year timespan.

    The Plan also outlines how unsewered areas across our Shire can continue to grow while managing any potential impacts of new unsewered development.

  • Why does Mansfield Shire need one?

    State legislation says that Council must have a DWMP.  We need to meet our legal obligations under legislation.  We also need to increase certainty about future development across the Shire as around 95% of our land is located in a declared potable water catchment.

    Local water authorities can apply the 1:40 hectare dwelling density rule if we are not implementing a DWMP.  This would significantly limit any future development in existing unsewered townships and Rural Living areas.

    The adoption of the DWMP means that these areas can continue to grow but everyone, whether a resident, land owner, business operator or visitor, must play their part in managing the potentially damaging effects wastewater can have on public health, amenity and waterways.

  • How does the DWMP manage domestic wastewater?

    State legislation requires Council to undertake a risk analysis when assessing applications for development in unsewered areas.

    Using leading experts we have developed a simple but effective way of assessing risk from a township level down to an individual lot.  This means we can identify areas of high, medium and low risk across the Shire.

    In this way the Plan provides certainty for land owners by explaining how Council and water authorities will assess the potential impact of new development.  It also outlines what information you need to submit to Council when applying for a permit to build in an unsewered area.

    All DWMP's must include details about how Council will monitor how land owners and residents maintain their on-site system and comply with permit conditions.  Our Plan has a detailed Action Plan that does this.

  • What are my responsibilities as a land owner or resident?

    Goulburn Valley Water (GVW) will require people with properties in sewered areas (i.e. Mansfield township, parts of Bonnie Doon township and the Merrijig to Sawmill Settlement valley) to connect to the reticulated sewerage system.

    For the rest of the Shire, which is not sewered, land owners and residents are responsible for properly maintaining their on-site wastewater management system.

    This means:

    • You need to get your system serviced regularly;
    • Sludge at the bottom of the tank should be emptied about every 3 years;
    • If you have an aerated treatment system you need to comply with the service agreement requirements outlined on your permit to use the system; and
    • You must comply with the conditions on permits granted by Council.
  • How does Council check that people are doing the right thing in maintaining their on-site system?

    Council must have an inspection program in place to make sure everyone is maintaining their on-site systems and complying with permit conditions.  Over time, Council will be inspecting every on-site system, with high risk areas being the top priority.

    We will write to land owners in an area before the inspection program starts.  The purpose of the inspection is to locate your system so that it can be recorded on our mapping system and to see if there are any obvious signs that it is not working properly.

    After the inspection, you will receive a letter identifying what maintenance, if any, you need to do and by when.  We well then re-inspect the property to ensure it has been done.

  • Where can I get more information?

    Council has prepared a Community Handbook 648.16 KB PDF that helps you understand what the DWMP means, along with some handy hints about how to look after your on-site system to minimise maintenance costs and system breakdowns.

  • Identifying the Risk Rating for your Land?

    A series of risk maps were prepared during the course of the DWMP using the scientific risk analysis tool developed by a group of experts commissioned by Council using the funding provided for the project by the former State Government.

    The risk rating of your land affects how resources will be allocated in the future by Council and local water authorities, the level of documentation required to support permit applications for changes in land use or new development and the frequency of Council inspections to ensure your on-site system is being properly maintained and permit conditions are being complied with.

    You will see from the maps that some areas have been analysed down to individual lot level.  These are the areas that were seen to be at highest risk and where pressure for new development has been the greatest when Council was preparing the DWMP.

    Remember:

    • use the most detailed map of your locality to identify the risk rating for your land
    • risk maps only apply to unsewered land.  If your property in Bonnie Doon, Mansfield township, Merrijig, Sawmill Settlement or Alpine Ridge is connected to reticulated sewer, you do not need to use these risk maps.

    Stage 1 Risk Map - Mansfield Shire 2.31 MB PDF

    This map is to be used to identify the risk rating of land in the following localities:

    • Ancona
    • Barjarg / Lake Nillahcootie
    • Kevington
    • Gaffneys Creek
    • Merton
    • Piries
    • Tolmie
    • Woods Point

    Stage 2 Risk Maps - Minor Catchments close to Lake Eildon 2.16 MB PDF

    This map is to be used to identify the risk rating of land in the following localities:

    • Bonnie Doon
    • Bonnie Doon East
    • Doolam Creek
    • Howqua Inlet
    • Jamieson
    • Lower Delatite
    • Macs Cove
    • Maindample
    • Mansfield (west of township)
    • Mountain Bay 
    • Paradise Point
    • Peppin Point
    • Wappan
    • Woolshed Creek

    Stage 2B Risk Maps - Settlements around Lake Eildon

    Please click on the map corresponding to the locality in which your land is located:

    We have analysed and mapped how vulnerable land is to potential adverse impacts from unmanaged wastewater down to an individual lot level in many areas around Lake Eildon.

    Council and water authorities will use these maps to determine priorities for infrastructure investment, monitoring and inspection programs and requirements for future development.

    Some initiatives to be implemented by a range of stakeholders over the next five years, outlines in the DWMP's Action and Resource Plan, are also focused on land in either a high, medium or low risk area.  This makes sure we all get the best public health and environmental outcomes for the limited resources we have.

  • What it means to be in a High Risk area?

    Requirements when developing your land or extending your existing house:

    • you will need a very detailed land capability assessment prepared by a qualified expert, including on-site soil testing that proves all wastewater can be effectively treated on your land.
    • traditional septic tanks may not be able to be used to treat wastewater and so more expensive, complex systems may need to be installed.
    • if you need a planning permit to build, local water authorities will need to look at your plans and inform Council if they agree or disagree with the proposal.
    • there will continue to be strict conditions in the permit about maintaining your wastewater system into the future.  Council will be actively ensuring these conditions are met.
    • old systems will need to be upgraded to meet as many current day EPA standards as possible, particularly if you are extending an existing house.
    • a small lot may mean only a small house can be built.

    Inspection and monitoring program:

    • Council's wastewater system inspection program will generally focus on these areas between 2016 - 2018.  Lakeside townships will be the first to be inspected.
    • Council will be actively monitoring these areas to ensure routine maintenance is undertaken by land owners into the future.

    Wastewater and Storm Water Infrastructure:

    Lakeside townships such as Goughs Bay and Bonnie Doon will be the focus for discussions between Council and water corporations about improving local infrastructure to manage wastewater well into the future.

  • What it means to be in a Medium Risk area?

    Requirements when developing your land or extending your existing house:

    • You will need a detailed land capability assessment prepared by an expert that meets EPA standards.
    • If you need a planning permit to build, local water authorities will need to look at your plans and inform Council if they agree or disagree with the proposal.
    • There will continue to be conditions included in the permit about maintaining your wastewater system into the future.
    • Old systems will need to be upgraded to meet as many current day EPA standards as possible, particularly if you are extending an existing house.

    Inspection and monitoring program:

    These areas are the second priority for Council and water authorities.  On-site systems will be the focus of Council's inspection program in 2018 - 2019.

  • What it means to be in a Low Risk area?

    Requirements when developing your land or extending your existing house:

    • You will need a land capability assessment but Council's Environmental Health Officer may 'relax' some requirements, where appropriate.
    • Planning permit applications may not need to be referred to local water authorities for approval.
    • Council may require old systems to be upgraded to meet current day standards when renovating.

    Inspection and monitoring program:

    These areas are the last priority for Council and water authorities.  On-site systems will be the focus of Council's inspection program in 2019.

    Our DWMP Community Handbook 648.16 KB PDF is designed to guide you through what the DWMP means for you.

  • Resources for Land Capability Consultants?

    The DWMP recommended that land capability templates be prepared by Council to streamline approvals processes, reduce application costs wherever possible and improve the consistency in assessments submitted to Council and water authorities for review.

    The Rural Flying Squad, through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, provided funding to prepare the templates in consultation with Goulburn Murray Water, the Shires of Strathbogie and Towong, two land capability experts operating in North East Victoria and the Environment Protection Authority.

    For a general overview of the land capability assessment (LCA) process, please see our Information sheet 149.79 KB PDF.

    Step 1 - Identify the risk rating for the site

    Please refer to the Risk Maps above that will enable you to identify the risk rating for the site you are investigating.

    Step 2 - Download the template for the appropriate risk rating

    High Risk Land Capability Assessment template 762.76 KB PDF

    Medium Risk Land Capability Assessment template 827.03 KB PDF

    Low Risk Land Capability Assessment template 507.82 KB PDF 

    Step 3 - Talk to Council's Environmental Health Officer about local conditions and requirements

    It is a good idea to talk to Council's experts before you start your assessment process as there may be some handy local knowledge to pick up before you commence your site investigation.

    Step 4 - Desktop analysis and site investigation

    The LCA templates require a mixture of data collection, desktop analysis and field work.

    Rainfall and evaporation data

    The links below will help you collate rainfall and evaporation data for your land capability assessment.

    Please note that some weather stations have less than 20 years data and so you may wish to use only those stations that provide you with longer term data trends.

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May, 2018 - 13:40