Adaptive wastewater solutions for small towns - Penshurst and Cudgee case studies

Managing the impacts associated with small town sewage has been identified as a high priority for the region.

The cost of a reticulated sewerage system can be prohibitive, and private septic systems are often inadequate or not effectively maintained, creating a significant risk to human health and the environment

Wannon Water, Southern Grampians Shire Council, Moyne Shire Council and the Great South Coast Integrated Water Management (IWM) Forum have formed a project team to explore solutions for the Cudgee and Penshurst communities.



Penshurst is the most densely populated unsewered small town within the Southern Grampians Shire.

A risk assessment in 2019 identified the town at “very high risk” against criteria including property size, land capability for onsite containment and existing septic system performance issues.

A recent septic system audit conducted by the shire showed that 93 per cent (189 in total) of the septic systems inspected were not performing satisfactorily and did not meet current public health and environmental standards.

Penshurst is located in a sensitive groundwater environment that is susceptible to pollution from septic systems. Installing pipes and other underground infrastructure is challenging due to the presence of volcanic rocks.



Moyne Shire has recently completed a Domestic Wastewater Management Plan which shows Cudgee has a high risk of failure of onsite domestic wastewater systems.

The town is bisected by Brucknell Creek which is subject to flooding, increasing the risk of septic effluent moving beyond property boundaries and into the creek. The lack of sewerage services is also constraining further development.

Have your say

The project team is keen to hear community views to help determine the best solutions for each town.

Benefits of the project include:

  • Improving economic development and growth opportunities
  • Preventing pollution from entering waterways and groundwater systems
  • Engaging and educating communities on wastewater management issues.

Complete the survey

Share your thoughts on the management of wastewater at Penshurst or Cudgee by clicking one of the survey links below:

Community drop-in session:

Come along to a community information session. Drop in any time to share your thoughts:

  • Cudgee Hall - Thursday 16 January between 5pm and 7pm.