Residential Waste Water Management Risk Assessments Coopers Creek, Byron Shire logo

Residential Waste Water Management Risk Assessments Coopers Creek, Byron Shire

Byron Shire Council

Environmental monitoring and risk assessment of waste water management systems in the Coopers Creek water catchment. This opportunity suits students enrolled in ENV00244 and SCI00211


Availability: Approved

Time required: Not yet defined

Duration: Not yet defined

70-90 Station Street
New South Wales

Requires face to face contact: Yes

Related unit codes: ENV00244, SCI00211



Coopers Creek forms part of the drinking water catchment for the regional water supplier (Rous Water). The catchment is characterised by steep slopes, high rainfall, domestic water extractions and medium to low density housing. All housing requires waste water to be managed by a septic system often referred to as an on site waste water management system. Some of the systems are quite old and some systems operation has been compromised by additions and alterations to the dwellings or the system. As such Council in conjunction with the regional water supplier have programs in place to undertake periodic inspections and risk assessments.

The main aims of this project are:
• To document and report issues (risks) and infrastructure associated with the waste water management at each site.
• To work with an Environmental Health officer in logging, recording and responding to high risk scenarios encountered during the inspections.
• To collect water quality samples from creeks and deliver them to the laboratory for analysis.
• To collate water quality data.
• To write a report on the projects objectives, methods, results, outcomes and recommendations.
• To engage with the owners and users of septic systems in a proactive positive manner via site inspections.


• Obtain an up to date record of waste water management practices in the catchment.
• To understand how and if waste water management is impacting water quality in the catchment.
• To encourage and sometimes require that owners undertake repairs or replacements of septic systems or components.

Needs to be addressed

• Water quality management (drinking and recreational)
• Pollution control.
• Home owner awareness of their statutory obligations to manage waste water effectively.
• Protection of public and environmental health and amenity.

Skills required of project members:
Good communication skills, observation skills water sampling techniques, good writing skills, driving.
On the job training will be provided.

Benefits to students

The project provides a stepping stone to roles in environmental monitoring, assessment and enforcement that form an integral part of employment opportunities in environmental health / protection roles in government organisations like Local Councils, Marine Parks, National Parks and private enterprise e.g. designing on site sewage management systems.


Southern Cross University

An interested student or students i.e the project could be undertaken by an individual or a pair of persons. Potentially laboratory services.


• Access to vehicles, travel allowance (when using own car), laboratory expenses, access to other professionals within council, on the job training.
• Introduction to record keeping keeping in local government.
• Access to GIS database.
• Access to desk space, computer, and computer programs including GIS.