In 2017, when developing our current pricing submission for the 2018-2023 period, we heard community feedback that sewerage pricing was not fair in Elmore and Lockington.

Customers in these towns have a STED system which means that septic tanks are still required as the sewer network is unable to transport and treat solid waste. However, up until 2018, the same prices applied to STED systems as full sewer systems.

We saw an opportunity to give customers a choice on how they wanted us to address the limitations of the STED system.

  • Lockington customers chose an option to have their septic tanks cleaned every three years, paid for by Coliban Water.
  • Elmore customers chose to have a sewer rebate of $124 per annum applied to their accounts.

This year we returned to the community to review their decision.

Lockington and Elmore Customers Decide

  • Elmore Choose

    A total of 137 votes were received, or 33 per cent of eligible customers.

    The majority, with 68 per cent, have chosen option 1: Sewer rebate of $124 annually from my bill, paid quarterly

  • Lockington Choose

    A total of 77 votes were received, or 35 per cent of eligible customers.

    The majority, with 57 per cent, have opted for option 2: Coliban Water pays for a septic tank cleanout every three years.

Past program performance


During the 1990's, sewer systems were constructed in many of our townships. Customers were required to pay a contribution toward the cost of the sewer and pay ongoing charges. The amount payable was determined by the cost of the sewer system and the number of properties serviced. A smaller pool of customers in the townships of Elmore and Lockington meant the cost per property was excessive. As an alternative to a full system, STED systems were constructed in these towns.

The main difference to this system is the customer has a septic tank. Sewerage flows into the septic tank leaving behind the solids called sludge. The liquid component is piped to the Water Reclamation Plant. While the initial customer contribution was smaller, customers still paid the same sewer fees as customers with a full-service system. The onus was on the customer to have their septic cleaned out.

In both Lockington and Elmore customers have had difficulty in locating their access points. Council does not have records of old septic systems and the onus is on the customer to locate the access point or possibly incur additional costs from the contractor.

Improper maintenance of septic systems can impact the environment. However, Lockington and Elmore have sewer blockages significantly less frequently than other towns.

2017 community engagement

Over several years customers told us it was unfair they were paying the same amount as other customers when they received a lower level of service. In response, we presented the communities of Elmore and Lockington with four options to enable them to choose what suited their town the best;

  • Full sewer service (cost of approx. $20,ooo per property),
  • A quarterly discount off their bill ($124 per year),
  • We arrange and pay for septics to be cleaned out at their request every three years, or
  • They arrange for septics to be pumped out and we reimburse them.


The decision

On 2 March 2017, we invited 219 account holders to attend a community meeting. 25 people attended the meeting. 56% of the people in attendance voted to have Coliban Water arrange the cleanout of their septic tank every 3 years.

Program result

We engaged a contractor to clean customers septic tanks upon request. Lockington has 217 STED systems. In the first 3 years we received 116 requests for a septic tank clean out. A little over half the eligible customers. To encourage more customers to request a septic clean we will remind people of their eligibility each year.


We continue to work with the Lockington community, speaking to community members directly at Community Pop Ups and community group meetings.

Customers have not expressed any concerns about the STED program but have been vocal about experiencing low water pressure.

Lockington has received a Community Rebate in 2018, 2019, and 2020 due to the lack of adequate water pressure to complete day-to-day activities. A project is scheduled for completion in 2022 to increase water pressure in Lockington.


The decision

On 3 March 2017, we invited 415 account holders to attend a community meeting. 43 people attended the meeting. 58% of the people in attendance voted for a rebate off their bill.

Program result

Elmore has 412 sewer connections. Each eligible sewer account receives a rebate totalling $124 annually. As the rebate was applied automatically 100% of the customers have benefited from this program.


We continue to work with the Elmore community, speaking to community members directly at Community Pop Ups and community group meetings.

Customers have expressed concerns about water hardness. Elmore’s water is supplied from the Elmore Ground Water System.