Refresh Vaucluse and Diamond Bay

Ending the flow of untreated wastewater

We’re committed to investigating options to deliver a permanent long-term solution to manage the last remaining untreated wastewater ocean outfalls in NSW: 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.


Overview

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 Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) 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 began paying $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 is included in the wastewater service charge.

Planning work for the project is progressing.


Background

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 3 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 (2.2MB), in response to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority's Pollution Reduction Program. As a result of the study, we recommended people avoid fishing, swimming or coming into contact with water near the 3 outfalls while we work towards a solution.

More information

Find out more

Email our community relations team at vauclusediamondbay@sydneywater.com.au or visit sydneywatertalk.com.au