Editor: septic toilets an issue
THE majority of houses in Howard are not connected to a reticulated sewerage scheme. Most properties have septic systems instead.
There are about 1100 people resident in the township with records showing 560 lots, though not all of these have dwellings built on them. It is a substantial amount of home-treated waste.
Howard has got a sewerage scheme of sorts but only a few commercial properties and a couple of dwellings are hooked up to it.
The sealed treatment plant sits near the community centre which would be against council and WBW's own planning policies these days.
A new plant to cater for the whole community would have to be built away from town and no closer than 400m to the nearest property.
The responsible authority would have to buy land for the treatment plant, land for a water reuse scheme, pay the capital costs and fork out for ongoing maintenance.
Engineers estimate a sewage treatment plant with mains reticulation could be had for $15 million.
But ratepayers would have to stump this up and they don't want to pay. Nobody else will.
Discussions have dragged on between Fraser Coast Council, Wide Bay Water and the residents of Howard for a decade on this issue.
A committed group of residents now want's to re-engage with authorities on the subject.
It is baffling that a township of this size could be bereft of that sort of major infrastructure. It is a clear failure of leadership and planning for the regional centres.
More importantly Howard's plight - and the infrastructure challenges of the future - is replicated across a number of other Fraser Coast towns. River Heads, Booral, Craignish, Dundowran and Woocoo lack full reticulated sewerage system coverage. Smaller centres such as Torbanlea, Toogoom and Burrum Heads are better off.
Are towns that rely on septic disadvantaged? Are they less attractive locations for families and investors? If they are perceived to be, the clamour for sewerage resources will be a bunfight in the coming years.