People and Places
Joint effort to encourage mains sewer connections
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

Chris Smolka, Rod Moon, Megan McLachlan, Tori Carson, Cr Susan Bissinger, Cr Sarah Race, Bob Cooper, Mayor Despi O’Connor and Jean Cooper.

Wastewater is a significant environmental issue on the Mornington Peninsula. Mornington Peninsula Shire has the highest number of septic systems of any Victorian council, with about 22,000 properties across the Peninsula lacking a sewer connection and relying on septic tank systems. Many of these systems were approved decades ago and are discharging bacteria and other contaminants into groundwater and waterways.

To manage these risks, the Shire encourages property owners to connect to the mains sewer through South East Water’s Early Connection Option program.  The program is one of the largest pressure sewer constructions in Australian history and will benefit more than 15,000 properties between Rye and Portsea.

“More residents on the Peninsula have the ability to connect to mains sewer, which removes the costly and time-consuming maintenance of a treatment system,” said Mayor Despi O’Connor. “We want to work with our community to help manage and maintain our wastewater systems so together we can protect the health of our Peninsula.”

The Shire said connecting to mains sewer helped to protect public health and the environment from outdated and poorly maintained septic systems. Where there is no mains sewer available, households must install and maintain their own on-site wastewater systems. Undertaking an annual health check – particularly before winter – is important because a leaking system poses health and environmental risks many owners are not aware of. Seasonal attention to the care and maintenance of your septic system and regular pumping of the tank can also help to save on costly repairs and early replacement.

Recent changes to the Environment Protection Act will help the community and businesses meet maintenance requirements and extend the life of their septic systems. New resources are available from the Shire and the EPA and to help property owners meet these requirements. To find out about the ECO program, visit, and for help with your wastewater and how to manage your own sewerage system, visit and

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