Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dumping sewerage into our streams

When Melbourne has very heavy rain, which is not too often, Melbourne Water is forced to dump raw sewerage into our rivers and streams at different locations. The sewerage system gets overloaded with storm water run off and the consequences of Melbourne Water not dumping the sewerage into our waterways is not something you really want to think about. Let me just say the words, back up.

I'll expound with my ignorance.

Our street was originally occupied by mostly very large houses with front and rear gardens, porous places where water would be absorbed into the ground. The street itself was lined with bluestone pitchers, with water seeping down to the earth through the gaps, and not solid concrete. Now our street is mostly high rise buildings with minimal grassed areas. There is little opportunity for water to seep anywhere. It runs into solid gutters and into the stormwater system. That all happened quite a number of years ago and the system coped.

But now in the inner and even medium suburbs, single houses with gardens and lawns are being replaced by multi storey unit developments with at best tiny areas for water to seep away. There are so many of them and excess water is just going straight to gutters and into the storm water system.

Being reasonably au fait with Melbourne's inner suburbs, I have a pretty good idea how many multi storey developments have replaced single storey housing. The number is monstrous. I am not sure if it is to Melbourne Water's credit that the problem is not much worse, but an excess of storm water gets into our sewerage system, hence the dumping of sewerage when the system gets overloaded.

I really don't have any doubt that flooding of inner areas has also become much worse as most seepage opportunities have disappeared. Unproven, but I think so.

I have made it clear in the past that I have serious issues with our huge population growth. But all these new people pay taxes, pay rates, pay for services. That is a significant amount of extra money to provide infrastructure, and yet we don't have the infrastructure.

So where is the money going? Profits to overseas companies that now own our infrastructure? Are our taxes being unwisely spent or are we not paying enough or both?

I don't know, but it all seems to be terribly wrong to me.


  1. See now, THIS is what I'm talking about when I say to people halt or slow immigration until the infrastructure to support these extra people is constructed or expanded. They tell me I'm talking rubbish and these people have to live somewhere and would I turn away babies and small children? Would I turn away puppies and kittens from my door? (True, that's what they say, and yes I would turn away puppies and kittens).
    Politicians all talk big about population growth being good for the country, they'll bring in money, jobs will be created for them, cultural diversity, yada yada, then they're all crammed into newly built highrises with teeny tiny parking facilities, next to huge shopping malls with hundreds of shops, not enough parking spaces and certainly not enough toilets. The incoming children fill our already resource-stretched-schools, but there's little or no improvement made to either school buildings or facilities.
    Yes, our tax dollars are being spent unwisely. Too many pollies perks, not enough spent on essential living infrastructure.

  2. Could you just imagine the pong if the sewerage did back up. I to wonder where all the extra money goes to when the water companies ask for a rate rise as i can't see any improvements happening in my neck of the woods :-).

  3. In the big flood of Feb last year, my uncle's neighbour suffered from the sewerage backing up and coming up through the drains and into his house. Apparently it was quite disgusting *holds nose*

  4. That is what I think River. The less well off are affected the most and not those who can afford to insulate themselves from the masses. Cheap labour for big business is what it is all about.

    Windsmoke, I suppose they have to spend some on the new estates, but how the older areas keep on going with so much more sewerage and run off, I do not know.

    It would be Fen. It ought not happen in a first world country.

  5. Sadly, it seems to be the way of the world anymore.

  6. SIGH.

    In a moral sense, everyone on the planet needs water, shelter, food and the dignity of meaningful work.

    In a more practical sense, our right to determine who comes to this country, who can buy our assets and how newcomers ought to behave is based, in part, on the infrastructure they will have instant access to, thanks to the past contributions of existing citizens and their forebears.

    Population growth as a source of growth in GDP is a game of smoke and mirrors - especially so when it means our per capita stock of infrastructure is both shrinking and deteriorating.

    The only nice thing about the release of raw sewerage at different locations is that some [too few] politicians in budgie smugglers will swim on "undeterred".

  7. It is Rubye, sadly.

    FruitCake, smoke and mirrors it is. A good point about pollies swimming, a certain one in particular, well actually the the one before the last did too. It also pleases me that they get stuck in traffic jams too. God forbid that Australia ever embraces gated communities.

  8. "cheap labour for big business"

    Yes, until the cheap labour wants the same pay rates as the rest of us, so the big business shuts down and moves off shore leaving hundreds now out of work and dependent on centrelink payouts until they can find other jobs. And that's not easy, with a gazillion applicants for every advertised position.

  9. Gosh! Taxes being spent unwisely?? Surely our elected representatives would have the best interests of their constituents at heart!!

  10. Except River, they weren't so smart with Indians as they have a history of not being very compliant if wages and conditions aren't good.

    Red, those days have really passed, I think. It is all about he next election like it has never been before.

  11. More needs to be done to encourage decentralisation of population - The major cities are becoming a disaster waiting to happen with infrastructure not high on any pollie's list - they seem to be only interested ion the next election - not the quality of the place in 50 years.

  12. MC, Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong are booming, in fact anywhere where this a good train service not too far away. Melbourne has now spread so wide, it is nearly a day trip to get across it.