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Pressure to sewer the Cockle bay towns– overcoming servicing
The Cockle Bay Towns Sewerage Project (CBTSP) was a $10.5 m project by Central Coast (formerly
Gosford City) Council to deliver reticulated sewerage to unsewered areas of Empire Bay, Bensville, and
Kincumber South on the NSW Central Coast (refer to Figure 1). These townships were previously serviced
by a variety of on-site sewage management systems (OSSMS) including septic tanks requiring pump-out,
aerated wastewater treatment, absorption trenches, and mounds. The previous servicing approach for this
historically-remote community was recognised to pose a risk to both public and environmental health,
particularly with ongoing development and customer expectations of servicing – some customers had
campaigned for reticulated sewerage for more than 30 years.
The townships were eventually identified in the 1990s under the NSW Government's Small Towns Sewerage
Program for funding under the Country Towns Water Supply and Sewerage Program and the Priority
Sewerage Program (PSP).
Challenges for servicing this regional community included the spread of development across two discrete
areas around the bay, a spectrum of land uses (small residential, rural residential, commercial, schools,
undeveloped), varying terrain from flood prone land to upper reaches below escarpments, sensitive ecology,
affordability, government funding and its equitable distribution, and community engagement critical to
delivering an accepted and well-functioning sewerage system.
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