Randwick Greens Councillor offers structural solution to Coogee Beach sewage pit odors – 20th August 2014

The offensive odors emitted during the regular cleaning of the Coogee sewage pits by Sydney Water is highly embarrassing to Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey

Coogee sewage pits being emptied 2014 REDUCED

Regular cleaning of the Coogee sewage pits produces a notorious offensive odor.

The North Ward Councillor is putting a motion to next Tuesday night’s Council meeting suggesting solutions to the State Government.

One suggestion is that sewage flowing in from suburbs outside Coogee could be diverted straight to the Malabar treatment plant rather than first being pumped down to the beach.

The Greens are also asking whether the local sewer system needs to be upgraded should residential levels increase further.

Councillor Shurey said,

“Present and past State Governments have initiated residential density increases in our area without any obvious corresponding improvements in sewage infrastructure. Do we actually know if the sewers can cope? And density increases will surely only exacerbate the offensive odor situation at Coogee.”

The Greens are worried that sewage overflows will become common as the sewerage system is forced to cope with greater use.

Councillor Shurey said,

“In heavy rainfall the water that always infiltrates the sewers may cause greater than the current amounts of raw sewage to be vented via the emergency overflow devices into the storm water pipes that lead to our beaches.”

A different but still related ecological issue is that Sydney is Australia’s only city that still pumps virtually untreated sewage into the ocean from its treatment works. The Malabar plant handles 500 mega litres per day with only primary treatment (Sydney Water, August 2013).

Councillor Shurey said,

“The sewage plant at Malabar, which deals with half of the city’s waste, removes only 50 per cent of the solids in the sewage and leaves in large amounts of nutrients and heavy metals, which can harm the environment. Other nasties include halogenated organics from pesticides, dioxins and other industrial byproducts. We need to upgrade the treatment processes from primary to at least secondary treatment level.”

Sydney Water describes primary sewage treatment as being simply the removal of solids from the waste. Secondary treatment removes nutrients and remaining solids through bacterial decomposition. This treatment involves naturally occurring biological processes and is currently in use at the Penrith treatment works.


That Council notes the inadequacies of the Coogee sewerage pit situation, the need for a broader local sewer infrastructure improvement, and the ecological importance of secondary treatment of ocean sewage discharges. That Council responds to these issues by adopting a policy position of urging the State Government to consider the following options:

  1. The commencement of a feasibility study into constructing an earlier diversion away from Coogee of the main sewage flows from other suburbs thus achieving a more direct path to their ultimate destination at the Malabar treatment plant;
  2. Sydney Water to investigate opportunities to work collaboratively with the Council to model and project changes to pressures placed on the sewage infrastructure system under various projected population growth scenarios;
  3. The implementation of secondary treatment techniques at the Malabar treatment plant; and
  4. A State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) imposing a sewage infrastructure improvement levy on all new developments causing residential increase in the LGA.




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