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Main blockages plummet thanks to new maintenance program

Sewer blockages have reached an all-time low for one Victorian utility thanks to a new sewer maintenance and preventative cleaning program.

Coliban Water recorded 20 blockages per 100 km of sewer over the last financial year, which Manager – Customer Operations Steve Dunlop said was a substantial reduction compared to 2013/14, when it recorded more than 60 blockages per 100 kms. 

“By 2022 we aim to further reduce that number even further,” Dunlop said.

“This reduction in blockage rates now brings Coliban Water into line with other Victorian water authorities and helps us work towards our Strategy 2030 goals of a cleaner environment and healthier communities.”

The program has improved sewer performance and reduced service interruptions and overflows, as well as lowering the impact on communities and the environment. 

Works have included the cleaning of more than 4100 sewer mains (approximately 203 kms), as well as condition assessment and maintenance hole inspections.

Dunlop said the use of technology allowed the utility to garner higher monitoring accuracy, leading to more targeted maintenance.

“We have been utilising closed-circuit television condition assessment of around 1550 poor performing sewer mains throughout our region, which has given us better accuracy of their condition,” he said.

“Carrying out this significant program not only means fewer sewer blockages and spills, it minimises our impact on the environment and saves customers and the organisation money in responding to spills.”

The three Ps

The reduced blockage rates have been bolstered by Coliban Water’s ‘Bin it, don’t flush it’ campaign, which aims to educate the community on the impact of non-flushable products in drains.

“We want to thank the public for their efforts to only put the three Ps down the toilet –  pee, poo and toilet paper – but there is still a long way to go,” Dunlop said. 

“Just last week we experienced a sewer spill in Kyneton, which was caused by a blockage of wet wipes. It goes to show everything that goes down the toilet has to go somewhere, and can have major implications for our communities.”

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