Doncaster, Sewage Treatment Plant

This is the joint program from Yarra Valley Water & Manningham Council that has been under review since 2011.

Last Update: 2012-06-23

Manningham Council stated that there will be no determination at council until at least 31 July – objections are due before then.

After the council update presentation last week Fiona gave us the following report:

There’s not really much to report from the meeting because nothing has changed from the previous ones – YVW & council were just running it to say they have consulted with the community after the plan was submitted.

Summary of Objection

The construction of a large industrial facility imposes too large a footprint on scarce and valuable open space.  It is inappropriate for a densely populated residential area and presents too great a risk for residents. The significant loss of amenity will negatively affect quality of life and destroy parkland that can never be replaced.

Key Issues:

Loss of Important Open Space,  Inappropriate Development so close to residential, Noise and Odour Issues, Traffic Issues, Chemical Storage, Property Values


Objections to Tram Rd Reserve Sewerage Plant Proposal

Attached is an Objection letter template,  feel free to use it for your own objection or alter it as you see fit. It is preferable for us each to do our own objection letter and state why you personally object to the proposal and how it affects you. However, if you choose to use the generic letter please fill out your contact details on the first page and sign and date the last page in the spaces provided.

Objections must be lodged with Manningham City Council at 699 Doncaster Road, Doncaster, by mail to P O Box 1, Doncaster 3108 or via email to

Objection – Doncaster sewage treatment ( blank form for your use.)        Site Plans Appendix 2 – Doncaster sewage treatment ( site plans )

If you do require a hard copy please let Fiona  know and I will get it to you. I have been assured by staff at Manningham Council that there will be no determination at council until at least 31 July. Therefore, we can send objections until this date. However, the sooner you get your letters in the better so the councilors have a chance to read them. If you have any ideas, suggestions or questions please contact either:

Fiona Scott –
Steve Hantzolos

Here are the previous articles on the topic.

Doncaster Water Treament Plant – Basis of Trust.


Sewerage plant proposal in Tram Rd Reserve, Doncaster.

I wish to object to this planning proposal on the grounds below as it will impact on the safety and amenity of the community.

Loss of Important Open Space

According to the Manningham City Council Residential Strategy, the area bounded by Tram Road, Doncaster Road and the Eastern Freeway has been designated for higher density residential property development.  In fact, there have been significant developments occurring in this area that will result in the significant reduction of open living space per resident. Tram Road Reserve is a large piece of open public land in this area and a critical part of an extensive biking/walk route linking with neighbouring areas.  It will serve an ever increasing and more densely populated community in the future.  It is a vital piece of parkland to maintain community characteristics in term of liveability (open space & recreation), mobility (walk and bike paths) and serves as an effective interface between residential areas and freeway traffic. This parkland will be required as a place where community members can meet and socialise, and children (particularly those living in units/apartments and townhouses) can play safely.  Tram reserve also serves as an off lead dog exercise area and is enjoyed by many members of the community and their animals – promoting a healthy lifestyle and exercise.

Parkland and open space is for recreation and relaxation; by building an industrial facility the characteristics of the park will be so massively altered its value will be lost.  Community members do not want to walk their dog/play with their children/sit on a park bench and relax adjacent to an industrial facility.  The fact that there will also be vehicular access further diminishes the amenity of the park as a place to relax and as a safe option for children to play or for animals to exercise.  The retention of this open space would also be in line with Manningham City Council’s Koonung Creek Linear Park Management Plan.

Inappropriate Development

The construction of an industrial facility that is 73 metres long, 29 metres wide (approx 2100 sq. metres) and 6 metres high with a 15 metre high stack is clearly inappropriate in an established, densely populated residential area.  It is even more inappropriate when the nearest residential zone boundary is within approximately 25 metres of the proposed facility.  Buffer zones are designed and maintained to protect residents from the effects of land uses that are not compatible with residential areas and also act as a safety factor against errors in design modelling (ie such as a odour report).  Residential areas require even higher standards of amenity than if the proposed plant was to be situated in an industrial zoned area.

The Victorian guidelines for buffer zones for sewage treatment plants are set out in EPA Bulletin AQ2/86 and excludes the following land uses from a buffer zone, “Residential areas (whether occupied or not), hospitals, schools, caravan parks and other similar uses..”.  For a mechanical /biological wastewater plant the MINIMUM buffer zone is 100 metres – for a plant designed to treat an equivalent population of 100 people.  This plant is proposed to service a much larger population and should be subject to a buffer zone of at least 400 metres.

Even with good pollution control technology and practice, there can be accidental or unintended emissions of odour, volatile organics, noise and chemicals as a result of accidents, new treatment processes, equipment failures, power failures, abnormal weather conditions and even human errors.  An adequate buffer zone allows an opportunity for these emissions to dissipate and industrial incidents dealt with without significant adverse effects.  A buffer zone of only 25 metres allows absolutely no room for error or accident and presents an unacceptable risk to nearby residents.  The fact that the proposed facility falls so far outside EPA guidelines should in itself be grounds to refuse planning permission.

Noise and Odour Issues

Residents in this area are currently subjected to ever increasing noise levels from the Eastern freeway. Trees that were planted in Tram Road Reserve to buffer this noise are to be removed as part of the construction of this facility – further exacerbating the noise problems.  It is then planned to run the facility on a 24-hour/7 day a week basis, further adding to the noise in the area, even in times that are traditionally quieter.  Whilst it may be argued that the noise will fall within EPA guidelines this does not mean “no noise” and further impacts on the amenity of the parkland and general standard of living for nearby residences.  As the traffic (and associated noise) continues to grow from the freeway as Melbourne’s population increases, who will be legally responsible and liable when the combined noise of the two exceeds EPA guidelines, as they surely will?  This is to say nothing of the noise and disruption that will be caused throughout the construction process, future ongoing maintenance works and constant heavy brake noise from the commercial trucks serving the facility.

The odour report presents several models where the smell emanating from the facility would breach EPA guidelines.  One must question Yarra Valley Water’s claims that “most of what comes out of the treatment plant’s ventilation stack will be air” when modelling clearly shows that if the stack were only ten metres high the facility would not be EPA compliant.  Unfortunately for residents, a fifteen metre high stack will emit its fumes at the level of residential properties on Whittens Lane, Grange Park Avenue and all residents living on the higher side of the Tram Road Reserve.

Again, this is why the EPA mandates buffer zones around these facilities.  The lack of proper buffer zones in this case means it is almost certain that residences will be impacted by noise and odour issues. Additionally this area is adjacent to a creek, being a natural geographic low point, where on still nights pollution from the plant will stay in the area.

Traffic Issues

The area around Whittens Lane, Grange Park Avenue and Frank Street consists of narrow residential roads entitled to visitor street parking.  Considerable disruption will be caused during any construction phase with large vehicles entering the area and the proposed works in these streets as the water mains are re-aligned to allow for delivery of water to Doncaster Hill.  The local roads are also unsuitable for large trucks to be entering the residential area to deliver chemicals, especially the steep road on grange park avenue.  This increased construction and maintenance traffic combined with the ever-increasing number of vehicles attached to new developments in the area is of significant concern to residents.

Other risks

The transport and storage of chemicals next to a densely populated residential area and the creek is of concern to residents.  Again, whilst management practices may be in place, accidents can still occur and due to the proximity to residences the consequences could be severe. This is why buffer zones are vital around industrial developments.

Security surveillance commonly required to safeguard water supply facilities like the proposed plant poses unreasonable intrusion to residents and park users’ privacy. 

Property Values

There is a stigma attached to industrial developments such as these and local residents are very concerned about the certain negative impact on property values both immediately adjacent to the facility but also throughout the surrounding area.

Summary of Objection

The construction of a large industrial facility imposes too large a footprint on scarce and valuable open space.  It is inappropriate for a densely populated residential area and presents too great a risk for residents. The significant loss of amenity will negatively affect quality of life and destroy parkland that can never be replaced.

1 Comment

  1. Patricia and Bill Martin says:

    We object to the Sewage Plant for all of the above reasons and wish to add an objection. This sewage plant is not for us the residents of Doncaster but for multitudes of people who haven’t as yet arrived. To say it is not going to stink is outrageous, it will occupy a bigger space than an olympic pool, dozens of trees will be removed, trees planted to enhance the freeway area which have thrived to form a natural bushland. Don’t destroy it.

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