Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Swimming in sewerage

Let me boil this down to its essence just so that it is clear as mountain stream water.

Raw sewerage running into our bay when it rains heavily is because our storm water drainage system can't cope with the volume of water and so it floods the sewerage system.

The sewerage system is then overloaded, so Melbourne Water releases raw sewerage into creeks that run into the bay.

The reason our storm water can't run away quickly enough is because of what some might suggest the over development of our inner suburbs, where there is little chance of water to soak into anywhere as there are so few porous surfaces. No, we can't have grass. We can make money from that space.

I say over development because infrastructure, such as storm water drainage, has not matched development.

Melbourne Water has not been privatised. It is government owned, so it is the state government that needs to be held directly responsible.

I have written about this before, but I just wanted to make it little clearer, and I believe there may be something on tv tonight.


  1. This is what happens when you let population growth run amok. The infrastructre can't cope because its too old and needs updating which would probably cost billions of dollars, so what are our water rates being spent on besides the desal plant not forgetting that water rates increase every year :-).

  2. For the first 150 years of settlement, Melbourne always received a rainfall so low (650 mm or 25") and so predictable that there largely wasn't a need for huge storm water drainage. I say "largely" in order to account for the odd deluge in our history.

    Does climate change mean we are going to be alternating between 5 years of desperate drought and 5 years of heavy rainfall? Is our population growing too fast for our post-WW2 infrastructure? We are in deep doodoos.

  3. I have nothing intelligent to say but I think it's disgusting the way we treat our bay. I don't get why it's not more of an issue considering how many people utilise the bay.

  4. Email this to all the politicians you know, all your local MP's, and maybe word will get around that infrastructures need upgrading.
    But don't hold your breath waiting.

  5. Windsmoke, I think you description is apt. Population growth is running amok. I expect a lot of money is being spent on consultants and feasibility studies on how to fix it the problem.

    Hels, I wasn't aware of even rainfall in the past. It certainly isn't now. I dread another drought and fear one day we will be very glad of the desal plant. It is very clear that infrastructure is so far behind, we may never catch up.

    Fen, knowing what I know now, there are areas I would be reluctant to swim in, even if the EPA did declare it safe.

  6. River, I suppose it is much the same all over Australia, Adelaide included. I was just reading about some bus fuss over there.

  7. Hang on, isn't that why we pay the planning authorities to approve development applications? So they can check them against current infrastructure and decide accordingly?? And if that's NOT so, then why??

  8. Red, logic would indicate that.....but???

  9. Storm water is essentially rain that falls on footpaths and roofs. Once upon a time it was illegal to store the water from your roof, but has now become eseentialessential to reduce the strain on an overloaded and under-maintained essential service. (remember that the Black Plague was due to poor hygenie/plumbing) That is WHY tanks are now encouraged in built up areas and laws prohibiting the use of tanks removed.

    The next sting in the tail - will be those that availed themselves to the installation rebate, will be hit with a usage tax soon for storing water, that can't be stored in dams, because the Greens won't allow any more to be built. (Last dam built in 1974)

  10. Heather, essentially my point was that water needs to fall in areas where it can soak into the ground. Then when the weather is hot, it steams up into the atmosphere and falls again as rain. A natural cycle. I don't believe in personal water collection, electricity collection by individuals or sewerage collection and reuse. In a big city, it far better to have it all done by a central authority, otherwise we go back to the old days where things were not so nice and only the rich could afford proper disposal and water and electricity.