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Whitehead and Associates Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd
Centre for Environmental Training
Onsite I site


Whitehead & Associates are leaders in the field of decentralised wastewater assessment and design. We have prepared guidelines for onsite wastewater assessment, design, and management to a number of state and local government agencies in Australia and the Pacific, undertaken numerous onsite wastewater assessments, and have jointly developed a quantitative risk assessment model for catchment wide analysis of onsite wastewater disposal.

Projects undertaken by Whitehead & Associates include:

  • Phased Community Wastewater Management Scheme – Loch Sport, Victoria. Involved audits of 150 on-site sewerage systems, soil and groundwater sampling, selection of a shortlist of partial, full or no on-site (community) designs for phased implementation, risk based modelling of current and future full build-out scenarios, implementation planning, concept design of 4 selected schemes, and P50 financial costing (current and life cost) for the 2500 lot village. Four alternative schemes were recommended including, vacumn, small diameter sewer, low pressure sewer, and two variations of STEP/STEG systems.
  • On-Site Servicing Study, Coongulla-Glenmaggie, Victoria. Involved a review of existing on-site disposal systems including site audits, assessing minimum on-site land area requirements based on risk analysis of site constraints, identification of appropriate on-site servicing options and community schemes, P20 capital, operating and net present cost analysis.
  • On-site wastewater management system investigation – Farley NSW. An assessment of on-site wastewater management system efficiency for the village of Farley NSW for Maitland City Council.
  • Preparation of a domestic wastewater management plan for Baw Baw Shire Council LGA. Involved the completion of a detailed risk assessment for the Baw Baw Shire and development of appropriate strategies for the improvement of domestic wastewater management practices for new and existing unsewered developments.
  • North Arm Cove and Pindimar Catchment Management Project. This project involved the mapping of some 300 on-site systems in three villages on the northern shores of Port Stephens and monitoring of both surface and groundwater quality over a period of a year to develop a model of on-site wastewater impacts on estuary water quality. Port Stephens is a major recreational waterway with major oyster leases and both commercial and recreational fishing. Port Stephens and Great Lakes Councils.
  • Cumulative impact assessment for on-site wastewater project.  Assessment for a 50-lot subdivision to assess the potential for export of nutrients to oyster leases in an environmentally sensitive coastal lake system. Pambula Lake, NSW.
  • Coomba Park catchment improvement project. This project assessed the nature and extent of impact of on-site systems on surface water and groundwater and investigated the impacts of on-site system density. Systems in a densely developed lakeside village were mapped using GIS and surface drainage systems mapped and monitored to determine the subcatchments. Individual systems most contributory to contamination in Wallis Lake, the site of a previous Hepatitis outbreak in oysters, were identified. Measures to address or alleviate the problems caused by failing on-site systems were identified for Great Lakes Council.
  • Wastewater Concept Plan - Kinglake and Kinglake West, Victoria Options studies and preliminary designs for decentralised sewerage treatment and reuse facilities undertaken for Murrindindi Shire Council.
  • Wastewater Treatment Study - Meander Valley, Tasmania Study to identify appropriate treatment options for Small Villages within the Meander Valley Municipality. The study involve consideration of both on-site and community system options and the identification of appropriate locations, methods and costs for innovative sewerage servicing of small villages in the study area.
  • Revision of Technical Installation Guidelines for on-site sewage management systems for Port Macquarie – Hastings Council. This project involved the development of a set of ‘standard drawings’ for on-site wastewater management system components such as sand filters, reed beds, subsurface irrigation systems, trenches and ETA beds. The document provided clear advice to designers and installers on appropriate construction standards for on-site systems.
  • Development of a Wastewater Management Strategy for Sorell Council. This study involved the development of a wastewater management strategy for a rapidly expanding population in Tasmania. The population was serviced by two small wastewater treatment plants at peak capacity in two small towns, a Common Effluent Drainage system servicing part of one village, a partially completed and uneconomic pressure sewer system at another village and high density on-site systems in four further villages.
  • Development of the trial Hawkesbury Lower Nepean On-site Sewage Risk Assessment System (OSRAS). This involved the development of the second stage of the GIS based OSRAS model and its application to eighteen Local Government Areas in the Hawkesbury Lower Nepean Catchment (jointly with WBM Oceanics). NSW Department of Local Government.
  • Development of a policy document, technical guidelines, a biogeophysical GIS site suitability model for decentralised wastewater solutions and concept designs for two Priority Sewage Program villages for Sydney Water. This project initiated development of the Decentralised Sewage Model (DSM) which we have used to evaluate the site opportunities and servicing options for Kinglake (see above). The project involved thorough research of available technologies, management models, and construction, operation and maintenance issues, from case studies and published guidelines both in Australia and overseas. It culminated in the preparation of innovative concept designs for the sewage reticulation, treatment and reuse, for two rural villages.
  • Technical review and revision of the Environmental Health & Protection Guidelines – On-site Sewage Management for Single Households (DLG 1998). NSW Department of Local Government.