Ours2share's Blog

Hazelwood and Churchill (Victoria, Australia) local Girl Guide information noticeboard.

Septic smell stinks


For as long as two of the current Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guide Leaders have been utilizing the Hazelwood [South] Hall there has been a septic smell that has gradually got worse. the simple deduction being where there was an ongoing smell that bad their had to be at least one Health and Safety issue soon to arise.

The smell is sometimes bad enough that Girls, Parents and visitors have not wanted to come into the Hazelwood [South] Hall. Note that when a female is ovulating in the menstrual cycle the olfactory area is very susceptible to smells. Girl Guide are femoral from the age of five and continuing all their lives. People who do not inhale strong smells [such as smoke, chemicals, alcohol, perfumes] were also susceptible to the septic smell.

Events, activities and service times became minimal due to the unpleasantness of the odor. Overnight stays were hard to tolerate, meeting times were worse. Things like the running of Jota /i was dicey for the Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guides to organise as the smell was foremost on the organisers minds. Inviting visitors and team members to assist was becoming more and more difficult. No one wanted to be around the septic smell.

The Hazelwood [South] Hall is owned by the Department of Sustainability and Environment – leased by the Hazelwood Girl guide District. The Hazelwood Reserve goes through the Latrobe City Council partially leased by the Churchill Soccer Club. The open land from that divides the Churchill Soccer Club from the Hazelwood [South] Hall is open public ground..

Girl Guides Australia has trained its Leaders in developing a Risk Analysis with any event, service, activity a being done. Evaluations on these Risk Analysis’s are reported on. A simple overall Risk Analysis encouraged by the Latrobe City Council for any event, service or activity being conducted on their grounds or in their buildings was brought to the Churchill Soccer Club, the Latrobe City Council, The Gippsland Water Board, other promenant shareholders like Tom Lawless, and is on record with the Hazelwood and Churchill District Girl Guide Minutes as an ongoing issue that is negatively impacting on the use of the Hazelwood [South] Hall.

Many people thought that the Hazelwood [South] Hall just had bad plumbing – after all the Hall was opened in 1959. Indeed these same people, and organisations, denied any smell at all being in the vicinity. The adverse publicity that the Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guide community was hearing back did little for the Girl Guide membership drives. In fact the smell and another factor was the reason why the Hazelwood [South] Hall has minimal usage currently from the both the Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guides.

Duck shoving like this the problem back onto those leasing the Hazelwood [South] Hall was not tolerated by the Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guide District Leader and Leaders who had by now had enough. The Department of Sustainability and Environment were happy to abide with what the Latrobe City Council believed in the overall professional assessment being conducted. After all the boundaries were blurred as to who smell was the smell. The opinion is still held that as the Hazelwood and Churchill District Girl Guides are the holders of the Lease on the Hazelwood [South] Hall then it was up to the leases to sort this matter out.

A registered Septic Tank Plumber was approached and for nearly four years was asked to come and find the Hazelwood [South] Hall old septic tank. Turns out this plumber was the same plumber who years before was the contractor who did the plumbing when the extension to the Hazelwood [South] Hall internal toilet block was built!

A major difficulty was that the Latrobe city Council and the Gippsland Water Board had experienced similar problems during some of their moves. Plans went missing. The Hazelwood District Girl Guides supplied both these organisations with what inguinal drawings and plans we had available. So that problem of no plans was fixed.

Early in the 2000’s a previous Hazelwood Girl Guide Support Member, also a father of a couple of Girls [a Girl Guide and Brownie Guide], who was a plumber by trade at the time when the indoor toilets were being built, told the current (2008 – >) Hazelwood and Churchill District Leader that it had been discovered/ known that the septic tank was dismembered at the time of the addition. He could not be sure where the old septic actually was though as he had not seen it exposed.

However in an original drawing that was probably as old as the Hazelwood [South] Hall there was a dotted line going from the Churchill Soccer Clubs buildings that until 2007 were the change and the catering rooms for all members to the back of the internal toilet extension. Then the dotted lines appeared to be connected to the additions external waste system.

The Septic smell reactions reached their peak after the building of the Churchill Soccer Clubs new Pavilion. The Hazelwood Reserve was dug up to accommodate what we thought were pipes which interconnected with the Hazelwood [Souths] Hall pipes leading then under the Tramway Road. The Contracted plumber apparently being the same one who had done the Internal toilet Block on the Hazelwood [South] Hall. Actually the was the same one who on several times over the years was asked to find where the old Septic tank was. How much would he charge? etc.

The initial plans for the sewage outlet were in the hands of the Gippsland Water Board. The final sewage inspection was not competed. Turns out that if a qualified septic tank plumber lays a septic waste disposal line there is no need for the final sewer inspection to be completed.

This mess of paperwork avoidance was brought to new Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guide District Leaders attention when a person in authority made the comment that he ‘did not know why you let the girls play in ‘shit”‘ .At this point the District Leader then remembered as a Leader calling into the Hazelwood [South] Hall one day on other business and seeing the equipment laying a strange pipe in gravel that was going into the dug up Reserve ground. Knowing that a leak from the frontage pipes had been fixed through a combined Gippsland Water Board and the Latrobe City Council effort The complaints re this leak had been going on for more than a year at the time of fixing the frontage leak] The Leader was curious. Also the plumber was near the Hazelwood [South[] Hall the finance was available as a donation would this Septic qualified plumber please find the old Septic tank?

While the Leader was approaching to ask the questions of the plumber [what was happening, was the area going to be safely cordoned off etc the Leader noted that the attitude of the plumber was aggressively evasive]
strength. Since this lesson was learned through personal injury being sustained the observations of what was actually going on were detailed and remembered.

Were the trenches deep enough to counter the lye of the land re the carriage of effluent?. The reserve was known to retain excess water as the gradient was lowest in the middle of the reserve. It was common knowledge that trapped water had to evaporate as there was no other means of escape. Having remembered finding out that something similar to skinny ‘agg’ pipe was being laid, that the pipes did not apparently go all the was to the Tramway Road effluent town pipes what was actually happening to the waste water of the Churchill Soccer Clubs Pavilion, change room facilities and canteen? At the most the septic line passed within a few meters of the Hazelwood [South] Hall toilet extension and also the frontage of the Hall..

The original septic smell now had increased in potency and strength. The soil around the pipes was caving in. What Aggi pipes were there were seen to be less than 20 cm from the Reserve grounds surface. The Reserve being crown land looked after by the Latrobe City Council was open to the Public entry. The smallest Churchill Soccer children practised in the lowest areas of the Reserve often. The Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guides used the upper area [highest part of] the reserve for their activities.

The Latrobe City Council eventually sent out their officers. Which resulted in the ground being filled in around the pipes. Their contractual plumbers came out and did something to the pipes. The contactual plumbers also checked the Haelwood [South] Halls plumbing re the smell. The conclusion was that the smell that the Girl Guides were still reporting did not come from the Hazelwood [South] Hall.

Eventually the Hazelwood [South] Halls old septic tank was discovered. The concrete top was sticking out of the top of the ground. One of the Hazelwood District Teams members came down and the dry top soil was lifted away. Terrific news not only was the septic tank filled with sand but the position was on the Latrobe City Councils Hazelwood South Reserve.

The Hazelwood South Hall’s booking person made initial phone calls to the Latrobe City Council reporting this find and the condition of the area. The District Leader of the Girl Guides followed up an initial call from a leader to the Latrobe City Council. When it was explained that the concrete both a Risk Analysis and an Occupational Health and Safety issue to both the general Public along with their equipment and to those who were mowing the reserve the appropriate action was quickly taken. The top was covered in top soil.

So now the Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guide District team had substantial proof to go back to the Latrobe City Council and again state the septic smell was still coming from not only the Reserve field but also as previously stated from the area near the older Churchill Soccer Ground cafeteria and Change Room facilities. An additional point was made that behind the old Soccer club rooms the ground was constantly wet. Mosquitoes were seen to swarm in the clear pine tree filtering sunset rays. Mosquitoes liked their living conditions to be damp and nutritious.

re were substancial Thankfully this has been followed up by a responsible remember of the Latrobe City Council. Who, having sort further professional advise, made certain conditions to be implemented to eliminate wafting over the Reserve field and lodging under the Hazelwood [South] Hall and thus, it is thought, causing the smelly problem.

We, The Hazelwood and Churchill Girl Guide District will be very appreciative to finally have this smelly problem under wraps.

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March 4, 2010 - Posted by | Churchill Soccer, events, Gippsland Water Board, Hazelwood Reserve, Hazelwood South Hall, Latrobe City Council, meeting, OHS, plans, plumber, Plumbing, responsibility, Risk Analysis, Septic

1 Comment »

  1. […] old 'closed off' septic storage location was found on the Hazelwood South […]

    Pingback by Outcomes of the external toilet block being demolished. « Ours2share's Blog | May 8, 2010 | Reply


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