South Gippsland Water have a strong response in place for managing the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure we continue to provide essential water and sewerage services for our customers.
If you’re concerned about paying your bills, we can offer extra support and flexibility to suit your situation. Customers are encouraged to contact us to work out an individual plan. Either via 1300 851 636 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is South Gippsland Water doing in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency?
South Gippsland Water is responding to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) here in Victoria and beyond, to ensure we protect the health of our staff, contractors, customers and visitors, and continue to provide the essential service our community relies on.
Our staff have transitioned to working remotely and are practising increased hygiene and social distancing. As an essential service provider, we continue to provide safe and reliable water and sewerage services. We will work with customers and community to ensure issues continue to be dealt with in a timely way.
At South Gippsland Water we continue to contribute to Victoria’s fight against this pandemic by assisting the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to test the region’s wastewater where required and requested. Wastewater testing can be a useful early warning system, potentially signalling COVID-cases before individuals even know that they are unwell. Testing is sensitive enough to pick up one sick person in a catchment of 100,000 people.
South Gippsland Water’s tap water is safe to drink and use
There is no evidence that drinking water will be affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or that it is transmitted by drinking water.
The Department of Health and Human Services regulates the safety of drinking water supplied in Victoria under a comprehensive regulatory framework that aims to ensure a consistent, reliable supply of safe, good quality drinking water.
Information on drinking water and public health is available on the Victorian Health website.
The Water Services Association Australia (WSAA) has released a fact sheet regarding water services and coronavirus (COVID-19): Download Factsheet
Can I catch coronavirus (COVID-19) from drinking water?
There is no evidence that Coronavirus (COVID-19) is transmitted by drinking water. The current evidence is that coronavirus (COVID-19) is most likely transmitted from person-to-person by sneezing and coughing. Drinking water in Australia is high quality and is well treated. There is no evidence that drinking water will be affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
WSAA water fact sheet: Download Factsheet
How is South Gippsland Water protecting the water supply?
South Gippsland Water have stringent hygiene, sanitation and social distancing measures in place at water treatment plants. In addition, there is almost no human contact in the process of treating water for drinking. Existing water treatment and disinfection processes, ensure a safe water supply to our customers.
Should I buy bottled water?
There is no need to buy bottled water for drinking. Safe, clean tap water will continue to be supplied directly to your home every day.
Does your sewerage system pose a bigger risk for spreading coronavirus (COVID-19)?
We treat wastewater to a high standard and take necessary precautions in safely carrying sewage away via our underground pipe network. At this stage there is no evidence that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has been transmitted to people via wastewater systems
I don’t have any toilet paper as it has all been sold. What can I flush down the loo?
We understand it is a complex time and it is hard to get hold of toilet paper. The only things that can be safely flushed down the toilet are pee, poo and paper. Tissues, hand towel and wipes need to be put in the bin.
If things other than pee, poo and toilet paper are flushed it can lead to expensive blockages in internal plumbing and our sewer pipes, which can then lead to sewer spills.
Supermarkets are continuously restocking, so you will be able to get toilet paper soon.
If you are experiencing financial pressure
If you’re concerned about being unable to pay your bills, we are here to help.
We can offer extra support and flexibility to suit your situation. Give us a call on 1300 851 636 for a confidential chat or take a look at options available.
Financial Help Options
If you can’t make a payment for whatever reason, just give us a call on 1300 851 636.
We can help you work out a payment method that suits. You’ll speak to one of our team, who will work with you for as long as it takes to get back on track.
You may need more time. Or a different way to pay. We’ll check if there is a government grant or concession that may apply in your case. We’ll also stop further debt collection while you are actively engaged with our Customer Support Team.
Visit our Customer Support Page for more information.
Your concession entitlements
If you have a valid pension or concession card you are entitled to a concession on your water and sewerage charges.
Register your valid pension or concession card today.
Contacting Our Office
At South Gippsland Water we care deeply about our customers, staff, partners and our community.
In line with actions being taken across water sector agencies, our office in Foster has been closed to the public until further notice.
We are taking these steps to help minimise the risk of the virus spreading, and our Reception staff can still be contacted by phone on (03) 5682 0444
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.
Our Customer Service Team can be contacted Monday to Friday from 8.30am-5pm on 1300 851 636.
Faults and emergencies can be reported 24 hours a day on 1300 851 636.
Managing Interruptions To Your Water and Sewerage Services
During this time, we may need to interrupt your water supply to perform emergency repairs and critical preventative maintenance. We will work to reduce the time period of any water supply interruption.
We’re continuing to complete a range of planned and unplanned works to ensure the reliability of our network. Works may be required in your area and we will keep you informed via normal notification channels. These include notices via letter boxes and posting on the ‘Alerts‘ page of our website.
South Gippsland Water recognise the importance of water supplies and the inconvenience during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result and when possible, planned works will be adapted to be completed in shorter time frames of two to four hours (instead of 5 hours).
Continuing to complete essential works keeps our water and sewer network functioning efficiently and reliably. It would be detrimental to the network and the contractors we employ, to stop doing this work.
Why is South Gippsland Water still carrying out planned (non-emergency) works?
The delivery of water and wastewater across South Gippsland is an essential service. We are continuing some programmed works to ensure reliable services to our communities for the long term. To ensure the reliability of our network, some essential planned works may be required in your area.
Continuing to complete essential works keeps our water and sewer network functioning efficiently and it would be detrimental to the network and the contractors we employ to stop doing this work.
How will your staff carry out work at my property?
A lot of work can be performed without coming on to your property. If we can do the work without accessing your property we will do that. If we do need to access your property or your home our team will assess whether the work is urgent or whether it can be deferred. If it is urgent our team will assess whether they can do the work safely using protective clothing. We will keep you informed about our assessment and next steps.
How do I access water during planned (non-emergency) works?
The way we work is to give our residential customers 3 days notice and commercial customers 5 days notice when we need to interrupt their water supply to do planned maintenance, giving them time to organise extra containers or bottles of water to cover the period when the water is temporarily off – which is within a four – five hour window, and usually a shorter interruption than this. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we will be working to keep water interruptions as short as possible and only for essential works.
What if workers are quarantined at home, will water still be supplied?
Water is an essential service and we are well prepared to manage our response to coronavirus (COVID-19). We have existing emergency response plans and are continuing to update them in response to the most current available information. In general, water treatment plants are secure, have back up power and require few staff to operate them and some water treatment plants can be operated remotely.
How to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Practising good hand hygiene and sneeze/cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses. Good practice is:
- wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- cover coughs and sneezes, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- and if unwell, avoid contact with others.
You can get more information from the Department of Health and Human Services Website (DHHS) : www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19