Old septics holding back industrial zone


A HUGE patch of Bayswater’s industrial zone is yet to be connected to modern sewerage, which is holding the district back, threatening trade jobs, and possibly poisoning the groundwater.

Instead of pipes the industrial zone inhabitants mostly use septic tanks or aerobic treatment units, which aren’t always suitable for modern industrial uses and are a turn-off for big industrial employers. 

Long-term resident Arthur Hinds, an experienced health inspector, has been campaigning to get action on the issue for a few years now. 

He’s warned the council that sewage seeping into the groundwater is likely contributing to fish kills.

“Look your kids in the eyes and tell them ‘we have failed’, because I can’t take my children to the river,” a furious Mr Hinds said at a 2020 council meeting. “I can’t take my grandkids to catch a crab, I can’t take them to catch a fish ‚Äì because the river is polluted.

“London had a sewer in 1866. We are in 2020 and we are still shitting in the ground. Bayswater has been dumping shit in the river for 135 years. Do something about it.”

But the project’s expensive and the council’s attempts to get the Water Corporation to help fund them have hit a catch-22: The Water Corp doesn’t prioritise “infill projects” as there’s not much uptake of development there. But development’s stymied by the lack of pipes.

Bayswater councillor Josh Eveson put up a motion at the March 28 meeting requesting the council CEO and mayor campaign to get state government funding in the 2023/24 budget.

Cr Eveson said installing a modern sewerage system “unlocks the significant growth potential of the Bayswater Industrial Area, an industrial area that is underdeveloped, unkempt, and environmentally concerning.

“This isn’t a new thing, sadly, and for decades the BIA has been overlooked as an important contributor to our local economy, one that could deliver much needed growth and local jobs.”

Only 33 per cent of the vast land holdings in the BIA has actually been developed, in a big part owing to the lack of pipes. 

He said the council’s recent Waterwise strategy had identified “the high density of septic tanks throughout the industrial area was considered a large source of the elevated nutrient levels found in outflow in the Swan River”.

Cr Dan Bull agreed they needed to look after Bayswater’s industrial areas, and said installing proper sewerage would help “protect inner-city blue collar jobs.

“It’s super important that people who work in trades in those industries are not pushed to the outer suburbs. And so thinking about the development of this area in a way that protects those kinds of jobs and trades, is super, super important for the inner-east.”

Mayor Filomena Piffaretti said “this is a real priority for the City of Bayswater.

“It will create jobs, it will bring better use for the land… it’s well overdue and we need this to happen ASAP.”

The vote was unanimous and they’ll now pen letters to four state government ministers – planning, lands, water and health – to seek funding.


One response to “Old septics holding back industrial zone

  1. Well done to Arthur Hinds, he has been campaigning on the pollution In the BIA for many years, hopefully his doggedness on this issue will be rewarded.⁸

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