Dear Festival Attendees, Many of you will by now have heard that the showers existing at Camp Wombaroo, the new Festival site, are only available to those who are staying in the dorms, and to disabled campers or those with very young children. This may have been unexpected and unwelcome news, and we are sorry for the short notice. This came about due to some legislative changes that happened late last year (about October) that meant that Rowany Festival had to put in a Temporary Development Application for the site. The stewarding team was only informed of this just before Christmas. Since then, the team has been checking that a TDA was really necessary, and since it is, preparing and submitting all the information that the Council and various bodies such as the Sydney Catchment Authority and RFS require.
The TDA requires very detailed plans for a number of aspects of Festival. One of these is wastewater disposal, as the site is in a drinking water catchment area for Sydney. When we got the wastewater disposal information from Camp Wombaroo, in late January, we discovered that the camp has an on-site waste-water treatment system, which has a maximum capacity of treating 15,000 L per day of wastewater (total of toilets, basins, showers, laundry and kitchen). This gives an allowance of 115 L per day of wastewater per person if the existing accommodation (130 persons) is fully utilised, about halfway between the recommended “domestic” allowance (150 L per person/day) and the recommended “hotel/motel” allowance of 82 L per person/day. The allowances are taken from NSW Health Septic Tank and Collection Well Accreditation Guideline (2001), as recommended by the Sydney Catchment Authority. We were unaware of this restriction before then.
As the existing accommodation is nearly full, this means that the wastewater system is likely to be operating at or near full capacity for most of festival, and there will be problems if there are many extra people adding to the wastewater by using the showers. Festival has booked enough portaloos that toilet facilities are still well catered for, so that should not be a problem. However, campers will need to use the portaloos, and only use the toilets in the existing buildings in an emergency. Campsites can hire their own portaloo in advance if they wish. Campers need to bring their own shower tents, or other washing facilities, and the water from that will be allowed to soak into the ground. The majority of the site has sandy soil, so if necessary, a shallow trench to direct the water into should be enough to allow it to soak away. The only restriction on this is that shower sites should not be too close to existing water, such as the dams. Campers should, of course, site shower areas thoughtfully with respect to other campers.
We hope this clears up some of the questions you may have. If you have strong concerns, please contact the Steward Team.
Yours in Service,
Lady Collette de Harcourt (Rebecca Tonkin)