Barellan’s future secured

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke and local residents celebrate the announcement of the infrastructure grant to develop a sewerage treatment works. Photo: Kim Woods.

Residential and business development can now be spearheaded in Barellan thanks to a new $4.87 million sewerage network slated for the town.

The funding, part of the NSW Government’s Safe and Secure Program, will improve sewerage in Barellan and, in south-west Narrandera, allow a feasibility study of septic system sites to the existing sewer network.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said Barellan’s on-site sewerage systems did not comply with current standards and were prone to failure.

Ms Cooke said the $4.8 million in funding would enable Narrandera Shire to to design and build a new sewerage system to service the village, while $48,000 was provided to study options for connecting septic systems in south-west Narrandera to the exisitng sewer network.

“This community can now go on to have a wonderful future where housing and business development can proceed,” she said. “This community is so ideally located close to Griffith, Leeton and Narrandera, and it can be a lifestyle village for these three communities.”

Barellan Progress Association chairman Graeme Davies welcomed the announcement after several years of lobbying.

Mr Davies said the town needed to move forward, with the majority of the septic systems doomed to fail if required to meet modern regulations.

The current Australian Standards associated with the requirement of onsite septic disposal require a minimum 3000 litre tank with approximately 50m of rubble drain.

“The system would never have gone ahead unless we received a grant,” Mr Davies said. “It is difficult terrain here with clay soil – it is flat so you can’t use the natural topography to drain.

“Former Member for Cootamundra Katrina Hodgkinson promised sewerage schemes for Ardlethan and Barellan, so Narrandera Shire are following the Ardlethan model closely. Now, the scheme has to be approved by the people to go forward.”

Mr Davies said the infrastructure project announcement was a boost to the district suffering from prolonged drought.

“I don’t know if the project will employ local people but they certainly will need accommodation in the vicinity so there will be a flow on effect,” he said. “At the moment, people don’t want to come to Barellan to build a new house unless they can hook up to mains sewerage – installing a septic system is an extra $20,000 they need to budget for. That has been holding back development.”

Mr Davies said Barellan was an ideal satellite town for people working in Narrandera, Leeton and Griffith. Narrandera Shire Council mayor Neville Kschenka also expects the project to lead to an expansion in housing and businesses at Barellan.

Steph Cooke said south-west Narrandera was restricted by the existing septic system relying on seperate on-site installations, with an inherent risk of contamination.

“This study will look at options for connecting this community to the sewer network , thereby preventing potential infiltration into Narrandera Shire Council’s water source and pave the way for future development and housing,” she said.

Narrandera Shire water and sewerage engineering officer Shane Squires said the location of the new sewerage treatment station in Barellan was yet to be determined.

Mr Squires said tenders would go out for a design based on the initial concept developed by Council and NSW Public Works. He said the connection fees between the system and the household were as yet undetermined and would be discussed with residents during the consultation phase.

Mr Squires said Council’s preference would be to employ local sub-contractors on the project.

Meanwhile, construction of the $3.858 million Ardlethan sewerage treatment plant has been temporarily delayed due to the availability of water. The source of water the contractor has been using is running low and may be required by the owner for their operations in the coming months.

Construction of the treatment plant had been originally due by November followed by the reticulation, rising main and pump station by March 2020.

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