Ageing sewerage system on Yarra “struggling to cope”

A Yarra city councillor has called for improvements to the state’s ageing sewerage system around the river, writes Zack Mains.
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A Yarra city councillor has called for improvements to the state’s ageing sewerage system around the river, writes Zack Mains.

Victoria’s rapidly growing population means more resources should be spent improving the state’s ageing sewerage system around the Yarra River, according to Yarra City councillor Amanda Stone.

Cr Stone said the 130-year old system will continue struggling to cope with the massive population increases, urban growth and environmental degradation unless there is increased investment.

“Sewerage is a Melbourne wide problem with the original system struggling to cope with the growing population,” she said.

The system is not designed for processing growing effluent to the standards needed to protect existing animal and plant life while encouraging  regeneration in stressed parts of the river.

“Litter is also a major and growing problem, plastics in particular. It impacts the animal life and prevents ecosystems from developing,” she said.

Cr Stone said she is pressing for a city that can accommodate a growing population in high quality sustainable buildings with great public spaces and easy access to transport. “I am a strong advocate for a fair and equitable city and nurturing a healthy and strong community, where no-one is left behind.”

Yarra City councillor Misha Coleman declined to comment on the risk of a decaying sewerage system to the community.

“Everything that can be done is being done to clean up the river,” she said.

Cr Coleman said it is ultimately the responsibility of Melbourne Water, a quasi-government body that provides water to the metropolitan area, protecting water resources and environmental monitoring.

Melbourne Water controls a network of more than 400 kilometers of sewers, nine pumping stations and two treatment plants. It treats about 320,000 million litres of sewerage a year.