Sewerage plant proposal in Tram Rd Reserve, Doncaster.

Another Development proposal that has raised concern is this water reclamation plant.

Sent in by Fiona Scott, you may have seen her in the Manningham Leader talking on this topic. No noise, smells at Doncaster sewage plant

Fiona has provided the information sheets provided by Yarra valley water (4 images below) and also some information from emails. There is an informal information session at the council offices this Wednesday night (Oct 12th,)  so draft plans etc can be viewed/ discussed between 6 and 8. A tent will also be set up in the park on Saturday by Yarra Valley Water to try and capture opinions of users of the park. Letters will be sent to those in immediate vicinity of Tram Road Reserve when plans are put to council and some signs erected in the park. Artists impression of sewer plant Doncaster

The main concerns in regards to putting a sewerage plant in our parkland are;

– the size of the plant: according to draft plans it will be 80 m x 30/40 m and 6.5 m high which takes up a significant portion of the park and is obviously an eyesore. Many properties back onto this site and there are concerns of overlooking the plant, as well as noise/smell factors. There is also no restrictions put on expansion of the sewerage plant in the future.

-the destruction of parkland: the proposed site of the sewerage plant is a bushland re-vegetation area which was put there to replace the destruction of natural fauna when the freeway was built. It was to act as a visual and sound barrier to the freeway for residents surrounding the parkland. They want to remove a substantial amount of this area to put a sewerage plant that destroys more parkland, produces noise and is a visual eyesore counteractive to the purpose of the re-vegetation area.

– noise and smell concerns: we are told that they need to meet EPA guidelines on both these issues and therefore should not affect surrounding residents, however, we were told that the freeway meets  EPA guidelines and I can hear the traffic without even opening a window. So not only do we have freeway noise they are now going to add to that with more noise from a sewerage plant. The smell factor obviously another big issue – again requiring to meet EPA guidelines which does not mean ‘no smell’.

– access to the plant:  there will need to be a road put through the park to enable workmen to attend the site, for large amounts of chemicals to be delivered each month, and possibly for sludge to be removed from the plant. Not exactly what you expect when enjoying open parklands in an off-lead dog area.

– there is no benefit to any of the surrounding residents by having a sewerage plant in their backyard. The only properties benefiting will be new development on Doncaster Hill. For this very reason Whitehorse council does not want it on their side of the park (despite not affecting residents as it would be behind the sound barriers for the freeway).  The golf course would be more appropriate, given it is in Doncaster hill and will not effect any current residents (ie could be worked into the planning when developing the area).

– if the sewerage plant is put in this location a very large pump (noisy) would need to be utilised to pump the recycled water all the way back up the hill to Doncaster Hill. They were unable to tell us what size pump would be required. In addition to this new pipes would need to be laid back up to Doncaster Hill causing a great disruption to Doncaster residents. The draft plans indicate that a large proportion of side streets in the Doncaster hill area, with the majority being outside the Doncaster hill area (area within the rough borders of Tram Road Reserve, Whittens Lane, Grange Park Avenue and Doncaster road) would need to be dug up in order to do these works. These streets are already narrow and congested with traffic as it is without further works (they did not provide us a copy with a map of new pipe works so I can’t forward them on) hence further support for locating the plant in the Doncaster Hill precinct).

– I don’t believe this location for the sewerage plant meets Councils management plan for the Koonung Creek Linear Park; this can be viewed from the manningham webpage under council>policy and strategy documents>Koonung Linear Park Management Plan.

Thanks for including this on your webpage – I think it’s important that all of Manningham residents know of the sewerage plant proposal in our parklands not just the surrounding houses. Good luck,

Fiona Scott.

Further Q&A via Fiona. Answers from Brant Mitchell, Yarra Valley Water.

Q: What other sites have been looked at for this sewerage plant? Why can’t it be built in Doncaster Hill, for example, at the golf course where it will be providing the resource, won’t be detrimental to the natural parklands and won’t affect existing properties?

A: A number of other sites in the area were considered, including the Eastern Golf Course. There is not enough water in the sewers around the golf club to meet the demand for the recycled water. There is a very large sewer that runs along Koonung Creek which can provide sufficient water.

Q: Have options on the Whitehorse side of the creek been looked at as there are many spots behind sound barriers (provided due to the freeway) that would have less environmental impact on the parklands as well as not being a problem for existing properties.

A: We did consider this location. Whitehorse Council would not approve the use of the site.

Q:Given the bushland regeneration that is occurring on the hill of the proposed site was planted to reduce sound from the freeway for the residents of Whittens Lane (as well as counteract parkland taken when the freeway was introduced) how much of this native bushland will you be removing?

A: The treatment plant is still in preliminary design and the footprint of the site is not finalised. We are attempting to minimise it as far as possible. An environmental  assessment of the vegetation on the hill is being undertaken as part of the design. Tree planting will be undertaken to compensate for the removed trees and also to screen the treatment plant.


Q: Following on from previous question, how much noise will the sewerage plant make? How are you planning on reducing noise and how will it be monitored?

A: The mechanical equipment will be located within a building which will be insulated so that EPA noise guidelines for residential properties are met. The EPA will be assessing the treatment plant to ensure that this requirement is met. Current background noise levels have been assessed at the site and these will be used to assess any impact.


Q: What will be the frequency and intensity of odours, will there be odour surveys conducted? What are you doing to reduce odours?

A:The treatment plant will be fully enclosed within a building. The treatment plant equipment within the building will also be enclosed (i.e. no open sewage). Air that is discharged from the building will be treated so that EPA odour requirements are met and we must get approval from the EPA for this.

Q:  Will any properties surrounding the site actually benefit from the recycled water?

A: Due to the high cost of retrofitting plumbing in existing buildings, only new development in the mandated Doncaster Hill development area will be using the recycled water. This will reduce the water demand on the entire Melbourne water supply system.


Q: What are the actual dimensions of the site? ie how far into the hill will be excavated ( will this affect foundations), how high will the buildings be, how far away from property boundaries is it, how far away from the creek is it, how many trees and vegetation will be removed, will it impact on my visual amenity, will further areas of parkland be disrupted due to new pipes or works on existing sewerage systems?

A: We are still only in preliminary design and the dimensions of the site are still being finalised. We are minimising the footprint, and minimising the excavation into the hill. The treatment plant is being cut into the hill so that the open space in the parkland can be retained. A thorough geotechnical assessment of the site will be completed as part of the design to ensure that the stability of the slope is not compromised. The trees along the top of the hill will be retained to screen the plant from the houses to the rear. Trees will be planted around the front of the site to screen it from the creek side.

A connection will be made to an existing sewer that runs through the park. This will create some disruption to the park, but we will attempt to minimise this.


Q:  What happens to any discharge (eg salt) will the creek or groundwater be affected? Eg bacteria.

A: There will be no discharge into the creek or groundwater. All waste from the plant will be discharged back into the sewer, so there will be no impact on the creek.


Q: Will there be disruptions to surrounding properties during construction?

A: Yes, there will be some disruption. We will work with residents to minimise the impact, but some disruption will be unavoidable.


Q: Obviously property value will decrease with a sewerage plant out the back gate – are there any other plants of this type that have been built in suburban housing areas and how have property have been effected?

A: The location has been selected to minimise the visual impact of the site. The plant is being designed so that you will not be able to see, hear or smell it from your residence. Trees will be planted around the site to screen the view from the creek. A similar plant is currently being constructed in the MCG car park, approximately 80m from houses. There are also a number of recent apartment developments which have recycling facilities located within the residential buildings. It is difficult for us to comment on how this has impacted on property values.


Q:  Will there be staff working onsite? Where is vehicle access? How much traffic is expected?

A: The site will not be permanently staffed however it is likely that staff will need to visit the site daily. Access is likely to be from Grange Park Ave.


Q: Is there any plans to expand the sewerage plant in the future? ie. are there any restrictions on the size of the plant?

A: It is possible that the plant will be upgraded in the future. This will depend on growth in development in the area and how much of the water residents use.


Q: Given the approved expansion plans of the major sewerage plants to process recycled water is it really necessary to create a sewerage plant in parkland surrounding a built up suburban area?

A:The major recycled water treatment plants in Melbourne are located a long way from Yarra Valley Water’s servicing area. We are therefore required to construct our own recycling facilities, which we are also doing in other growth areas. It is worth noting that pumping water long distances uses a lot of energy, so it is more energy efficient to produce the water close to the end user if possible.


Q:  Who is subsidising Yarra Valley water given it costs more to produce the recycled water than what you can sell it for?

A: Construction of the treatment plant will be funded from Yarra Valley Water’s capital works budget and from New Customer Contributions that developers in the Doncaster Hill area are required to pay for each new residential dwelling. Ongoing costs will be covered by the sale of the recycled water. The use of recycled water reduces the demand on Melbourne’s drinking water system, reducing the risk of future water restrictions for the entire community and delaying the need for further augmentation to the system.


Q: What consideration has been taken of the possible health affects as there are many studies outlining concerns with bacteria, parasites, increase of drug resistant pathogens and pharmaceutical chemicals. How are these issues being dealt with for use of the recycled water and also the containment of these problems within the sewerage plant and not to the surrounding parkland and residents?

A: The recycled water is not for drinking, the water will only be used for toilet, laundry and irrigation purposes. The proposed treatment process is one that is commonly used for recycled water production and has been approved by the Victorian Department of Health. The Department of Health will have to approve this specific project.


I know there are a lot of questions (will most likely have further questions to come) but given there are no positive outcomes for having a sewerage plant at the rear of our property and the destruction of the parkland that we use regularly, we are obviously not happy with the proposal and strongly oppose the building of this structure in the proposed location.





  1. dave says:

    Re: “A similar plant is currently being constructed in the MCG car park, approximately 80m from houses.”

    The water recycling plant in the MCG car park is UNDERGROUND!

  2. Edwin O'Flynn says:

    Fiona’s suggestion to instal a treatment plant at Eastern Golf Course is anathema to opponents of the Doncaster Hill Strategy.
    It is saying that she accepts Councils policy that EGC is a development site and not one of environmental and landscape significance.
    We have said ad nauseam “the DHS does NOT have community approval”.
    The Mayor says that it has approval. Where is the proof of approval.
    The requirement for the sewerage plant is another consequence of this ridiculous plan.

  3. Rosemary says:

    Sounds like Yarra Valley Water & Manningham Council are trying to shut the gate after the horse has bolted! Surely recyled water treatment facilities should have been incorporated into the plans of the new and proposed apartment buildings on Doncaster Hill. Each apartment development should have to provide its own recycled water. It is a disgrace that established parkland is to be affected and as usual the Council is thumbing its nose at the suburban block residents. Here’s an idea, why doesn’t Council incorporate a water treatment plant into its own current Council buildings development?! After all, the Council buildings are just a stones throw from the new and planned apartment developments.

  4. Ming says:

    Hi Less:

    Can you please let me know how I can share picture with others when I write the comments?


  5. Less says:

    Evening Ming.
    As a comment you can’t add pictures, but you can send them to me with the appropriate article / comment, and I can add them.

  6. Ming says:

    This is definitely deserved its “ODD SPOT” (The Age, 13 Feb 2011), “A waste treatment plant in Brooklyn, New York, is offering sweethearts guided tours on this year’s Valentine’s Day, and make this truly a unique date for lovers”. The questions to the council are (a) what appropriate processes (engineering design, justifications, social impact, consultation, long term economic model and community value, economy vs environmental sustainability) and due considerations on these they can show to the rate payers for its decision on such a “unique” plant in the heart of residential area ; (b) what is the council strategy to have such a “unique” site included in Manningham tourist promotional programs as a big draw card for schools as well as Valentine’s Day visiting these sewage plants dotted around Manningham Municipality, and (c) If council want to convince us this is the only one ever planned, we need to know why stop if the benefits of building these plants are there for the entire community to enjoy?

    We must not tempt to run before we learn to walk, and stop turning this “idea” into a nightmare reality.

  7. Lena says:

    Very unhappy resident. Manningham – a place totally over run by money hungry moguls (just seeing dollar signs before even planning). Very disappointed with the council. Nil consideration for existing residents in the area.

  8. Ming says:

    When one development building 350 apartments, another to increase from 150 to 273 without even a transparent process. all inside the Doncaster Hill area against the targeted “Annual Increase” of 160 over a 20-year period stipulated in Manningham Council’s own “Residential Strategy”, this has to be utterly irresponsible development with disregard of anything else in the name of integrated use of existing infrastructure. Where are these adequate infrastructure, opportunities (education, employment, entertainment, etc) existing or committed for the foreseeable future that can justify and sustain a rapid development in such a short span of time?
    Why such a plant is necessary in the middle of a well established residential area when it will only benefit 4000 out of 52000 homes by 2030. When take into account mainly single or couple households in these apartments (with minimal cars and no gardens), it is not hard to see water saving is almost negligible when our total population projection is 135,000 by 2030.
    Excuse of YVW to justify this “innovation” is that the existing big plants are too far away and need energy to pump water. This in itself is so lack of innovation! We all understand the need to conserve water. The responsibility of and benefit from water saving shall be shared by the entire community. If use of recycled water is such a great idea, YVW and the Council should actively develop schemes to make this a reality in the future for all residents, rather than building a single plant now without long term due considerations. Progressive thinking is not about taking short cut. One can imagine use of renewed energy, advanced technology to pump water, as a collective effort with all municipalities and water suppliers along supply route to all households, new & old.
    People living near a relatively noisy location don’t mean they deserve or should put up with additional noise from this industrial operation next to their backyards. Noise is one thing, safety, crime, environmental impacts, smell, health, visual, property value, loss and rezoning of parkland, chemical hazards, mix of industrial/commercial, residential and recreational activities, the list goes on. Most of all, if this is an one-off sustainable measure designed only for the NEW community, it must be located in and integrated with the NEW community. For the rest of us, we will continue to save water in any way we can while expect YVW and the Council to devise ture innovative ways of water conservation that is supported by and benefit to all. As an absolute last resort, we still have that big white elephant, the Desal plant, already paid for by all taxpayers money.

  9. John Wu says:

    Do not panic like previous Labour govt waisting millions of dollars to build water plant. Plenty of rains now, been back to normal weather now. building more parks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *