Refresh Vaucluse and Diamond Bay

We're committed to stopping the continuous flow of untreated wastewater from three ocean outfalls at Vaucluse, Dover Heights and Diamond Bay.

The Refresh Vaucluse Diamond Bay project will ensure that all wastewater is treated at Bondi's Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This will address the water quality and public health risks associated with the ocean outfalls.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has approved investment in the Refresh Vaucluse and Diamond Bay project as part of our 2020-24 price review.

From 1 July 2021, all residential customers will pay $1.06 a year to fund this program. Business customers will pay different amounts depending on the property’s meter size connection and discharge factor. This amount will be included in your wastewater service charge.

Ocean cliff and water below the cliff

Planning work for the project is progressing.


About Refresh Vaucluse and Diamond Bay

We're thankful for the ongoing support we receive from the community as we work together to put an end to the continuous discharge of untreated wastewater into the ocean at Vaucluse, Diamond Bay and Dover Heights. A legacy from Sydney's early wastewater network, this project will ensure all wastewater from the peninsula is treated and, in so doing, improve the coastal water quality, protect the health of our community and the marine ecology.

In 2020, we released a Review of Environmental Factors report that looked at the benefits and impacts of connecting the ocean outfalls to new and existing pipes to take the wastewater to the Bondi Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

We'll be taking a community-led approach in developing the detailed construction design. We expect construction to start in 2022.

We encourage everyone to get involved in the conversation about our plans via Sydney Water Talk.

The wastewater system on South Head Peninsula is different to other systems in Sydney.

A legacy from Sydney's early network, wastewater from the peninsula isn't treated. Instead, it flows directly into the ocean at three locations, via so-called 'ocean outfalls'.

These outfalls, which were built between 1916 and 1936, are located at the bottom of the cliffs at Vaucluse, Diamond Bay and Dover Heights and discharge into a largely inaccessible part of the coastline .

While these are the last remaining untreated discharges in Sydney Water's system, water quality at nearby swimming beaches (including Bondi) remains 'good' or 'very good' based on regular Beachwatch monitoring.

In 2018, Sydney Water released a Pollution Study Report, Vaucluse Diamond Bay Ocean Discharges, in response to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority's Pollution Reduction Program.

Based on the information in the pollution study, we recommended that people avoid fishing, swimming or coming into contact with water near the three outfalls whilst we work towards a solution.

To learn more, contact our Community Relations Team by: