Council flushed with septic system support funds

The Kingston District Council has taken a step forward in its bid to provide a new Community Wastewater Management System (CWMS). It received support from the State Government funded CWMS Program, managed by the Local Government Association (LGA).  The LGA received funding from the State Government to manage the CWMS Program, whose purpose is to provide funding to Councils to subsidise the construction and management of new CWMS schemes.

The Kingston District Council has taken a step forward in its bid to provide a new Community Wastewater Management System (CWMS). It received support from the State Government funded CWMS Program, managed by the Local Government Association (LGA).  The LGA received funding from the State Government to manage the CWMS Program. The CWMS Program provides funding to Councils to subsidise the construction and management of new CWMS schemes.

Recently, the Council has been facing considerable concerns about septic tank installations. Those concerns have come particularly from property owners wishing to develop or upgrade homes.  Chief Executive Officer Nat Traeger said, “any building development outside of the existing CWMS area is required to have an onsite wastewater system following SA Health’s Onsite Wastewater Systems (OWS) Code.” (The Code).

“The Code does not allow the location of onsite wastewater systems within 50 metres of an existing groundwater bore. Our engineers have estimated that 80-90 per cent of Kingston’s developed allotments have an onsite wastewater system within 50 metres of an existing groundwater bore”.

The Council currently operates a CWMS in Kingston. However, it does not service the southern and northern areas of the town.

The Council has been investigating measures it could take to alleviate the risk of groundwater contamination. Contamination posed by septic systems installed outside the Code is an enormous risk. Council also needs to accommodate any new septic tank systems within 50 metres of existing bores.

Council working to improve septic systems

Deputy Mayor Jeff Pope, acting Mayor until March 2023, said: “Council has been pursuing a solution with vigour since May 2022. It adopted a general policy. The position is that any OWS applications received cannot be approved other than by the applicable setback requirements prescribed by the Code. The only alternative is if the Council is satisfied the risks arising from approval have been adequately mitigated”.

He said, “there is a significant number of bores in the residential area. Sadly, there is no reasonable risk mitigation strategy available. The only viable options are to expand the existing CWMS or install a new one to service the southern and northern areas of Kingston”.

Based on the dire need of the Kingston community, the Council was successful with a funding allocation of $125k. Those funds will be used to scope the expansion of the service. It will include boundary mapping and a capacity assessment, all of which will inform a suitable design for the proposed system.

Ms Traeger indicated that some 652 properties will be included in the proposed CWMS extension area. It equates to almost 40 per cent of property owners in Kingston set to benefit from the new scheme, if constructed.

Benefits of septic systems management to be widespread

The project is set to assist with the development and economic prosperity of the town. It should also facilitate better community health outcomes.

Whilst in its initial planning stage, it is expected the capital cost will be many millions of dollars. It will be the single largest infrastructure project the Council has embarked on. The actual cost to property owners will be dependent on the level of funding contributed from alternative funding sources.

Council will soon be undertaking a legislative and comprehensive engagement process with property owners within the boundary mapped out for the new service, to discuss the project.

Council has agreed to fund holding tank pump out costs for Kingston township residential developments. This funding will run until the residential developments can be connected to the proposed new CWMS system. The decision was made on the basis that the holding tank pump out dates are tied to the existing contract for the licenced contractor to pump out the RV Park septic tank.

Ms Traeger hoped that Council agreeing to assist with holding tank pump out costs will give property owners the confidence to continue to develop whilst the CWMS expansion project is being undertaken.

It is anticipated the feasibility and concept stage will be completed by March 2023. Targeted community engagement will commence at that time.  Engagement will include individual discussions, community meetings, surveys, discussion papers and any other avenues available and appropriate to the project.

Related Articles:

Send this to a friend