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New toilet blocks for Lake Canobolas + Dredge sucking up a metre of Orange pond sludge

April 18, 2024

The dredge in action in Orange. Photo: OCC.

By Peter Holmes

Construction on two new toilet blocks at Lake Canobolas will begin this week.


The facilities are the latest stage of the $1.3 million upgrade at the lake.

Two new prefabricated facilities will include male, female and accessible cubicles.

Orange City Council (OCC) said the new units were similar to the toilets recently installed at Banjo Paterson Park on Ophir Road.

The lake upgrade began in June 2023. 

“It’s been great to see the size of the crowds enjoying the lake lately,” Orange deputy mayor Gerald Power said. “Hundreds of people have been making the most of the new paths, the upgraded beach areas and the new playground.”

One toilet block will be installed alongside the new playground on the eastern side of the lake, and the other on the western side of the lake, near picnic areas, a fishing deck and the dragon boat launching platform. 

The $1.3 million upgrade is majority-funded by the NSW government, with smaller contributions from OCC ($34,000) and a local mine ($6,500). It includes 10 projects “that improve access to the water and recreation areas for all community members”, OCC said.


New lawn at the lake. Photo: OCC.

The projects include:


• Retaining walls with built-in paths designed to make the lake’s two beaches more accessible;

• Replacing the playground on the eastern side of the lake with more modern accessible play  equipment; 

• An upgrade to the visitor walkway in the historic pump house; 

• Re-aligning internal roads between the lake and the café, including a new pedestrian crossing; 

• New line marking in parking areas; 

• A new location to launch canoes and dragon boats; 

• New shade structures. 

Council said work was due to begin later this year to construct a new sewer pump station at the lake, which will connect with recently built water and sewer pipelines. Until the station is completed, the new toilet blocks will operate on a tank-based system and will be pumped out by waste contractors.


It is expected the toilets will be operational by June 2024. 

In other water news, OCC said that “local specialist contractors Blackpoly Pipelines are working to maintain Orange’s stormwater harvesting scheme, as Orange City Council gets the system ready to be used in the coming months”.


A floating dredge and a heavy-duty pump used in the mining industry are pumping sediment out of ponds that are part of the scheme.


“When we need it, our stormwater harvesting scheme can deliver a quarter of our city’s water needs, so it’s important to keep it operating smoothly,” said deputy mayor Power.

“Taking a metre of sediment off the base of the pond doesn’t increase its volume by much. It’s more a step that delivers better water quality by giving the sediment, settling out the water, somewhere to go.”


“When water is pumped from Orange’s stormwater harvesting wetlands to add to Suma Park Dam, it first flows into a holding pond before going through two sedimentation ponds,” said OCC.


“In the two ponds, which each hold 17 megalitres, the stormwater is tested and treated to remove impurities like sediment. A water treatment is added which helps the sediment settle out of the water and onto the base of the pond.”


Power said that “over the years, sediment has settled and built up on the floor of the pond. It’s estimated to be around a metre deep, and this week a specialist contractor is working to remove that mud”.

He added: “From the pond, the mud is pumped up a small hill and captured in a huge mesh bag, which filters out the sediment, leaving clear water that flows back down hill to another pond.”



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