Our sewer network consists of 14 sewage treatment plants and more than 1100 kilometres of sewer mains.
Once water disappears down your drain or toilet, it's transferred via our sewer mains to your closest sewage treatment plant. Here it undergoes treatment before being recycled or returned to the natural environment.
All our sewage treatment plants operate under licence from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). The EPA sets the standards for the treated water returned to the environment.
Here is a three minute video explaining how our sewer system works:
Recycled water schemes
We operate 10 recycled water schemes across the MidCoast.
Recycling water for irrigation is a great way to reduce the amount of drinking water used for non-drinking purposes. The process involves reusing treated effluent from our sewage treatment plants to irrigate grassed areas.
The following schemes produce recycled water for irrigating farms:
We have also developed a number of recycled water schemes that are used to irrigate open spaces, such as golf courses and sporting fields. The recycled water from these schemes meets the requirements of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling.
- Bulahdelah Recycled Water Scheme – Around 20 million litres of recycled water from this scheme is used to irrigate the Bulahdelah Golf Course each year
- Harrington Recycled Water Scheme – Over 30 million litres of recycled water from this scheme is used to irrigate the Harrington Waters Golf Course each year
- Hawks Nest Recycled Water Scheme – Over 130 million litres of recycled water from this scheme is used to irrigate the Hawks Nest Golf Course, Myall Park and Providence Bay Park each year
- Tuncurry Recycled Water Scheme – Over 300 million litres of recycled water from this scheme is used to irrigate the fields at the North Tuncurry Sports Complex, the Tuncurry Cemetery, the Tuncurry Golf Course, the South Street fields, the Tuncurry Education Campus and the Sporties entrance area each year.
There are a number of small communities on the MidCoast that do not have access to water and sewerage services.
A risk assessment was recently undertaken which considered 30 villages in the area that do not have centralised sewerage services. A multi-criteria analysis was then completed to determine the level of priority for each village. The higher priority villages are listed below based on their risk assessment ranking:
- Coomba Park
- North Pindimar, South Pindimar, North Arm Cove, Bundabah, Nerong, Seal Rocks, Carrington, Tahlee
- Allworth, Copeland
Cost estimates were also established based on the preferred sewerage solution for each village. The estimated cost of providing sewerage services to all 30 communities is between $145 million and $200 million.
At present, this cost is unaffordable for both MidCoast Council and property owners in the villages, as contributions would be required from those who will benefit from the infrastructure.
The provision of water and sewer services for unserviced villages is now funded through the Safe and Secure Water Program (SSWP). The program was established in 2017 by the Department of Planning and Environment. Currently under the SSWP, we have no access to funding to provide water and sewer services to unserviced villages.
However, we are continuing to press this important issue with the State Government.
We’re also continuing to plan so that we’re ready to proceed if funding becomes available.
Please refer to the following document for further information on our recent risk assessment:
Un-sewered Village Wastewater Risk Assessment and Prioritisation for High-level Servicing Options(PDF, 9MB)
EPA licence data
We hold 12 licences issued by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to regulate the operation of our sewage treatment plants and associated sewerage systems.
Each licence includes specific monitoring and compliance conditions. Most of the conditions relate to the quality of treated effluent being re-used or released into the water cycle.
We are obligated under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 to publish monitoring data collected as part of our environment protection licence requirements within 14 days of the results being available.
To view the EPA Licence, monitoring data collected by us under environment protection licence requirements, or information regarding licensing conditions and compliance for a specific sewage treatment plant, please click the corresponding link below.
Requests to provide data collected under our licences can also be sent to email@example.com
Pollution incident response management plans
We have developed pollution incident response management plans for all our sewage treatment plants.
Each plan outlines:
- hazard identification and risk assessment for each premises and associated sewerage network
- steps involved in responding to a pollution incident
- list of personnel responsible for enacting the plan
- ·notification procedure with relevant government agencies
- plan testing and maintenance
In the event of a pollution incident, we communicate with our customers and the community via door knocks, letterbox drops, radio announcements, warning signs and media releases where appropriate.
For any operational faults or incidents involving our water assets, please contact our 24-hour faults and emergencies line on 1300 133 455.