Position Statement

Lake Eildon House Boats and Grey Water Treatment Systems

Updated:           August 2018

 

Outline:

Houseboats on Lake Eildon are subject to wastewater regulations. Blackwater (sewage) is required to be contained on board and pumped out to shore based wastewater treatment facilities. Until 2013, houseboat greywater (water from showers, laundry, and kitchen) was able to be discharged directly to the lake. However, water quality concerns over unregulated greywater discharge led to the introduction of the Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013. These regulations required all houseboats to install an onboard greywater treatment system (GWTS) by 2020.

In October 2017, the Victorian Government announced its decision to repeal the requirement for the installation of greywater treatment systems on Lake Eildon houseboats. This requirement was removed on the advice of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in response to an independent review of the regulations. In 2018 Jacobs were appointed to further review the situation and explore options. Click here to see July 2018 report.

Lake Eildon Houseboat Industry Association, individual businesses and individual owners hold concerns that the renewed discussion and review in 2018 by Jacobs could install unreasonable requirements. These sentiments have been relayed to Jacobs.

The July 2018 report by Jacobs, following consultation is attached. Feedback by 31/8 can be directed to DELWP at lakeeildon.houseboatregulationsreview@delwp.vic.gov.a

 

BIAV Actions

BIAV’s position has been relayed to Jacobs, and as a co-signatory to a letter to the Environment Minister, and is best captured in the content below

  • A March 2017 Jacobs report questions whether this further enquiry/report is required. It read in part - “Greywater discharge from houseboats is not expected to impact on general water quality parameters (Electrical Conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen, turbidity, pH) on a lake-wide scale. Lake water generally meets most WQOs”.

  • A blanket and ‘one size fits all’ approach is clearly going to be very problematic and most likely won’t work. It may struggle to get the required buy-in from the various stakeholders.

  • A proven Type A system will have to be designed, developed, tested over a significant period, and be proven to provide benefit, before being built into any mandated or legislated requirements.

  • A category by category, and in some cases, boat by boat solution will need to be implemented. Noting that there is such fleet diversity in terms of what they currently have, what they may need, and what may be possible.

  • Infrastructure and ‘pump out’ issues will also have to be addressed.

  • Water quality protection, and all parties co-operating to achieve it, is a major priority agreed by all parties. This was most recently demonstrated to BIAV by upward of a dozen leading Eildon houseboat industry representatives.

  • There is confusion however, and concern, that a costly and complicated exercise is about to be thrust upon industry and owners, without the required research and development. This is also without confidence that the requirements, possibilities and cost implications for each category of boat, and in some cases each boat, being taken into account.