Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Design of evapotranspiration systems for disposal of wastewater in remote aboriginal communities of Western Australia

McGrath, D.R., Ho, G.E.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 and Mathew, K. (1989) Design of evapotranspiration systems for disposal of wastewater in remote aboriginal communities of Western Australia. In: Workshop on Water Supply, Water Use and Waste Disposal for Remote Communities, 27 September, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

PDF - Published Version
Download (590kB)


The outstation movement (describes the attempt by Aboriginal people in remote areas to return to the lands from which they or their predecessors were relocated) has resulted in the development of many new communities. These range in size from small family groups to collectives of 100 or more people in remote areas of Australia. Health problems arising from ineffective I waste disposal systems and lack of maintenance of existing systems are prevalent in many of the communities [House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs (HRSCAA) 1987].

In some regions of the Pilbara, Western Australia, the soil is extremely impermeable with high clay and silt contents causing water applied to the soil to pond on the surface. In such situations conventional septic tank/soil absorption systems frequently fail; effluent moving into the disposal field is not absorbed by the soil sufficiently rapidly to prevent its rise to the surface and hence system failure occurs. The only alternative currently used in such situations is a reticulated sewage collection system which is very costly and frequently fails due to lack of maintenance [Mathew and Lantzke 1987].

Evapotranspiration (ET) systems have potential for use in those areas where soil absorption fields fail. The systems cost considerably less and potentially require less maintenance than reticulated systems. In this paper the design of ET systems for disposing of wastewater and the application of these systems to remote Aboriginal outstations is presented.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year