Freycinet Peninsula Wastewater Feasibility Study

Coles Bay facing the Hazards

Updated October 2019

THIS PROJECT HAS CONCLUDED.

While residents of Coles Bay receive drinking water from TasWater, the existing sewerage services are managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, or by individual property owners. During the drafting of the Freycinet Peninsula Masterplan, sewerage management was identified as an issue for the area. The Tasmanian Government funded TasWater to investigate potential options for improvement.

The Freycinet Peninsula Wastewater Feasibility Study covered the following areas:

  • the Wineglass Bay trail-head septic system
  • the wastewater treatment plant at Rangers Creek
  • the environment around Fisheries, Coles Bay and

Updated October 2019

THIS PROJECT HAS CONCLUDED.

While residents of Coles Bay receive drinking water from TasWater, the existing sewerage services are managed by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council, or by individual property owners. During the drafting of the Freycinet Peninsula Masterplan, sewerage management was identified as an issue for the area. The Tasmanian Government funded TasWater to investigate potential options for improvement.

The Freycinet Peninsula Wastewater Feasibility Study covered the following areas:

  • the Wineglass Bay trail-head septic system
  • the wastewater treatment plant at Rangers Creek
  • the environment around Fisheries, Coles Bay and Swanwick.

This Feasibility Study has not created a plan, detailed design or funding to install a sewerage system in Coles Bay. That will be the subject of further discussion between TasWater and the State Government.

  • The Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study has concluded

    5 months ago

    TasWater’s report on the Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study is being finalised for submission to the State Government by the end of October 2019. This page has closed for comments, but all material will remain online and anyone is still able to contact TasWater to discuss the study.

    The State Government funded this study in response to community concerns raised during the development of the Parks and Wildlife Freycinet Peninsula Masterplan in 2018. This funding has enabled TasWater to gain a good understanding of the area’s current sewerage issues. The results and options that have been discussed with the community are fully detailed in the study’s report, for the State Government’s consideration.

    Here’s a quick review of the study’s conclusions.

    • TasWater’s environmental sampling has found some evidence of faecal contamination in the coastal waters around Coles Bay and Swanwick, however no recreational beaches had to be closed as a result.
    • Contamination levels were at their highest following rain and in periods of very high occupancy, but then returned to lower levels. Glamorgan Spring Bay Council has an ongoing environmental sampling program of recreational beaches throughout the summer.
    • From a public health perspective, this study has provided good information for anyone who is concerned about wastewater management in the area, particularly since 2016’s very large rain event. Though TasWater has no data on wastewater system performance in the area from that time, in such a large rainfall event it is likely that some older systems and absorption trenches could overflow, and could do so again.
    • We have developed a range of options for upgrading the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service’s sewerage infrastructure within the Freycinet National Park, which could address odour issues at the Wineglass Bay trailhead carpark and improve the performance of the Three Lagoons sewage system.
    • Introducing a fully reticulated sewerage system to Coles Bay, and later Swanwick, is possible, but is a much bigger job than upgrading the national park’s infrastructure. The cost of building and operating such a system is significant and further, would increase based on whatever method is chosen to dispose of the treated effluent: land absorption, an ocean outfall, or reuse for irrigation.
    • The Freycinet community is concerned about what is believed to be a minority of private accommodation providers, who are allegedly not maintaining their onsite wastewater systems adequately, or not controlling the appropriate numbers of guests in their properties. Though we do not have direct evidence of this, this concern will be included in our report.
    • TasWater’s survey of the community indicates that property owners need more information on pricing before the required level of community acceptance could be reached.
    • Glamorgan Spring Bay Council’s desktop audit of onsite systems is continuing and TasWater will provide any advice we can, as required.

    We hope that this study and our community engagement has highlighted the importance of private property owners taking responsibility for managing their own wastewater treatment systems.

    TasWater’s report on the Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study is being finalised for submission to the State Government by the end of October 2019. This page has closed for comments, but all material will remain online and anyone is still able to contact TasWater to discuss the study.

    The State Government funded this study in response to community concerns raised during the development of the Parks and Wildlife Freycinet Peninsula Masterplan in 2018. This funding has enabled TasWater to gain a good understanding of the area’s current sewerage issues. The results and options that have been discussed with the community are fully detailed in the study’s report, for the State Government’s consideration.

    Here’s a quick review of the study’s conclusions.

    • TasWater’s environmental sampling has found some evidence of faecal contamination in the coastal waters around Coles Bay and Swanwick, however no recreational beaches had to be closed as a result.
    • Contamination levels were at their highest following rain and in periods of very high occupancy, but then returned to lower levels. Glamorgan Spring Bay Council has an ongoing environmental sampling program of recreational beaches throughout the summer.
    • From a public health perspective, this study has provided good information for anyone who is concerned about wastewater management in the area, particularly since 2016’s very large rain event. Though TasWater has no data on wastewater system performance in the area from that time, in such a large rainfall event it is likely that some older systems and absorption trenches could overflow, and could do so again.
    • We have developed a range of options for upgrading the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service’s sewerage infrastructure within the Freycinet National Park, which could address odour issues at the Wineglass Bay trailhead carpark and improve the performance of the Three Lagoons sewage system.
    • Introducing a fully reticulated sewerage system to Coles Bay, and later Swanwick, is possible, but is a much bigger job than upgrading the national park’s infrastructure. The cost of building and operating such a system is significant and further, would increase based on whatever method is chosen to dispose of the treated effluent: land absorption, an ocean outfall, or reuse for irrigation.
    • The Freycinet community is concerned about what is believed to be a minority of private accommodation providers, who are allegedly not maintaining their onsite wastewater systems adequately, or not controlling the appropriate numbers of guests in their properties. Though we do not have direct evidence of this, this concern will be included in our report.
    • TasWater’s survey of the community indicates that property owners need more information on pricing before the required level of community acceptance could be reached.
    • Glamorgan Spring Bay Council’s desktop audit of onsite systems is continuing and TasWater will provide any advice we can, as required.

    We hope that this study and our community engagement has highlighted the importance of private property owners taking responsibility for managing their own wastewater treatment systems.

  • Public meetings

    7 months ago

    TasWater will present an update on the Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study to the local community at two public meetings:

    Wednesday 25 September, 6:30pm
    Sunday 29 September, 1:00pm
    Coles Bay Community Hall

    As we prepare our final report for the State Government, we’ll present a summary of our findings and answer your questions. Both meetings will present the same information. We have mailed a newsletter to property owners so everyone can come prepared, and there is more information available here.

    We look forward to seeing your there.


    TasWater will present an update on the Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study to the local community at two public meetings:

    Wednesday 25 September, 6:30pm
    Sunday 29 September, 1:00pm
    Coles Bay Community Hall

    As we prepare our final report for the State Government, we’ll present a summary of our findings and answer your questions. Both meetings will present the same information. We have mailed a newsletter to property owners so everyone can come prepared, and there is more information available here.

    We look forward to seeing your there.


  • Freycinet Study nearly complete

    7 months ago

    As we prepare our final report on the Freycinet Sewerage Feasibility Study for the State Government, we’ve presented a summary of our findings in a new newsletter, which can be downloaded here.

    While there is evidence to suggest some wastewater contamination around Coles Bay and Swanwick, most likely from onsite sewage treatment systems, the results of our environmental sampling indicate it is at generally low levels. Sampling results from waters around the towns are worse than those from near the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service’s infrastructure, which also needs some improvement.

    Our feasibility study has...

    As we prepare our final report on the Freycinet Sewerage Feasibility Study for the State Government, we’ve presented a summary of our findings in a new newsletter, which can be downloaded here.

    While there is evidence to suggest some wastewater contamination around Coles Bay and Swanwick, most likely from onsite sewage treatment systems, the results of our environmental sampling indicate it is at generally low levels. Sampling results from waters around the towns are worse than those from near the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service’s infrastructure, which also needs some improvement.

    Our feasibility study has outlined some high-level proposals for upgrading the sewerage system within the Freycinet National Park, but we have also investigated an option for building a sewer in Coles Bay, with the potential to connect Swanwick at a later date. You can download a map of this option from here.

    The hypothetical cost of such a project depends on several factors. While we’re still finishing our study, we cannot confidently name an exact price estimate. However, the cost would likely be within a range of approximately $20-40 million, depending on how Coles Bay’s treated effluent was disposed of. More detail is provided in the newsletter.

    We have also mailed a survey form to property owners to get feedback on the Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study. To be clear, the State Government’s funding has enabled TasWater to develop preliminary plans and approximate costings to improve sewage management, but there is no proposal to introduce sewerage services to the area. The survey form is only to gauge community sentiment and inform our final report.

    As always, you can ask your questions on this website, contact TasWater directly to find out more, or attend one of our upcoming public meetings.

  • Dye testing in Coles Bay and Swanwick

    8 months ago

    TasWater will do further investigations in Coles Bay and Swanwick using dye testing, between 26-30 August.

    Earlier this year, TasWater conducted environmental sampling around the peninsula as a part of the Freycinet Sewerage Feasibility Study. That sampling found an indication of low-level wastewater contamination in coastal waters around Coles Bay and Swanwick. The level of contamination was minimal and our sampling did not provide evidence to suggest an immediate health risk.

    Contamination is detected by testing for E.coli and enterococci, but these bacteria can originate from a range of sources. These include human activity around beaches, but...

    TasWater will do further investigations in Coles Bay and Swanwick using dye testing, between 26-30 August.

    Earlier this year, TasWater conducted environmental sampling around the peninsula as a part of the Freycinet Sewerage Feasibility Study. That sampling found an indication of low-level wastewater contamination in coastal waters around Coles Bay and Swanwick. The level of contamination was minimal and our sampling did not provide evidence to suggest an immediate health risk.

    Contamination is detected by testing for E.coli and enterococci, but these bacteria can originate from a range of sources. These include human activity around beaches, but also dogs and wildlife. The intent of further testing is to better inform the feasibility study.

    Marine Solutions, the same contractor as used previously, will conduct this dye testing. They will look for potential pathways from septic and sewage treatment systems into coastal waters or the surrounding environment. These are found by dosing systems with dye and tracing any flow through the surrounding area.

    Dye testing is a common process that uses very brightly coloured green or red dyes to trace pathways, as liquid flows from one point to the next. These rhodamine and fluorescein dyes are not harmful to humans or the environment. If connectivity is found, Marine Solutions will take environmental samples for further testing.

    If you see the dye on the ground or in the water, there is no reason for alarm. Please be aware that the dye may remain visible in the area for a short time after the testing is complete.

    Any questions about the dye testing can be directed to Community Engagement Officer Trent Swindells on 6237 8523 or trent.swindells@taswater.com.au.



  • Download the new Freycinet Sewage FAQ and come chat this week

    11 months ago

    As our Feasibility Study progresses, TasWater is looking forward to publicly presenting a high level overview of potential sewage management changes for the area. Your feedback will inform TasWater’s final report to the Tasmanian Government. But for now, our work is still ongoing.

    Meanwhile, we have been asked many questions about our approach, our schedule and what new sewage management could possibly mean for property owners. We’ve compiled these into a Frequently Asked Questions flyer that now available to download.

    Remember, TasWater has a series of drop-in information sessions in Freycinet this week, to answer questions and listen to your concerns. You can read the FAQ then chat one-on-one with Community Engagement Officer Trent Swindells. These are not public meetings, there is no need to book and there is no such thing as a stupid question!

    Iluka Tavern, Coles Bay
    Thursday 23 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Freycinet Golf Club, Swanwick
    Friday 24 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Coles Bay Community Hall
    Saturday 25 May, 10am – 3pm

    Please help spread the word about these information sessions by sharing this Facebook post.

    Look forward to seeing you soon.

    As our Feasibility Study progresses, TasWater is looking forward to publicly presenting a high level overview of potential sewage management changes for the area. Your feedback will inform TasWater’s final report to the Tasmanian Government. But for now, our work is still ongoing.

    Meanwhile, we have been asked many questions about our approach, our schedule and what new sewage management could possibly mean for property owners. We’ve compiled these into a Frequently Asked Questions flyer that now available to download.

    Remember, TasWater has a series of drop-in information sessions in Freycinet this week, to answer questions and listen to your concerns. You can read the FAQ then chat one-on-one with Community Engagement Officer Trent Swindells. These are not public meetings, there is no need to book and there is no such thing as a stupid question!

    Iluka Tavern, Coles Bay
    Thursday 23 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Freycinet Golf Club, Swanwick
    Friday 24 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Coles Bay Community Hall
    Saturday 25 May, 10am – 3pm

    Please help spread the word about these information sessions by sharing this Facebook post.

    Look forward to seeing you soon.
  • Come visit a TasWater information booth in Freycinet

    11 months ago

    If you have questions for TasWater about the Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study, drop in to one of our upcoming information booths.

    Iluka Tavern, Coles Bay
    Thursday 23 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Freycinet Golf Club, Swanwick
    Friday 24 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Coles Bay Community Hall
    Saturday 25 May, 10am – 3pm

    These are not public meetings. There is no need to book. Just come along at your convenience for a casual one-on-one chat and have your questions answered.

    Please feel free to share this information with others who may be interested. And don't forget that you can ask us a...

    If you have questions for TasWater about the Freycinet Wastewater Feasibility Study, drop in to one of our upcoming information booths.

    Iluka Tavern, Coles Bay
    Thursday 23 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Freycinet Golf Club, Swanwick
    Friday 24 May, 4pm – 7.30pm

    Coles Bay Community Hall
    Saturday 25 May, 10am – 3pm

    These are not public meetings. There is no need to book. Just come along at your convenience for a casual one-on-one chat and have your questions answered.

    Please feel free to share this information with others who may be interested. And don't forget that you can ask us a question right here on this website.


  • TasWater in Coles Bay Sunday, 24 March

    about 1 year ago

    Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Services has invited TasWater to join them at a public information session.

    • Sunday, 24 March 2019
    • 11:00am – 1:00pm
    • Coles Bay Community Hall.

    This meeting will discuss Parks and Wildlife’s updated Draft Freycinet Peninsula Master Plan, but TasWater will also make a short presentation on the Freycinet Peninsula Wastewater Feasibility Study and answer your questions.

    Attending the meeting will be:

    • Community Engagement Officer Trent Swindells
    • Senior Engineer Asset Strategy Bryony Elson.
    Look forward to seeing you there.

    Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Services has invited TasWater to join them at a public information session.

    • Sunday, 24 March 2019
    • 11:00am – 1:00pm
    • Coles Bay Community Hall.

    This meeting will discuss Parks and Wildlife’s updated Draft Freycinet Peninsula Master Plan, but TasWater will also make a short presentation on the Freycinet Peninsula Wastewater Feasibility Study and answer your questions.

    Attending the meeting will be:

    • Community Engagement Officer Trent Swindells
    • Senior Engineer Asset Strategy Bryony Elson.
    Look forward to seeing you there.
  • Feasibility study has begun

    about 1 year ago

    The initial stage of the Freycinet Peninsula Wastewater Feasibility Study began in December 2018. You may have already seen TasWater staff and contractors in the area, conducting water sampling at a range of sites around the coast.

    As previously advised, this project began with an environmental sampling program conducted over several months, which informs our ongoing study. Following the project's announcement by the State Government, TasWater immediately made an effort to capture results from the peak tourist season, although we understand that Freycinet is busy throughout the year. We’ve also looked to gather data following rain events.

    The sampling program...

    The initial stage of the Freycinet Peninsula Wastewater Feasibility Study began in December 2018. You may have already seen TasWater staff and contractors in the area, conducting water sampling at a range of sites around the coast.

    As previously advised, this project began with an environmental sampling program conducted over several months, which informs our ongoing study. Following the project's announcement by the State Government, TasWater immediately made an effort to capture results from the peak tourist season, although we understand that Freycinet is busy throughout the year. We’ve also looked to gather data following rain events.

    The sampling program starts with the beach because that is the most likely place to find any widespread environmental impact. Based on those results, we can then develop the next phase of our investigation.

    We will provide further updates as we continue.