Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined Coliban Regional Water Corporation (Coliban) for separate breaches of its EPA licence at its Heathcote and Cohuna facilities.
On 12 July, EPA officers attended the Heathcote wastewater treatment plant (WTP) where they observed both the winter storage dam and wastewater lagoons at full capacity.
Officers also observed a flow of waste water exiting the winter storage lagoon into the adjoining forested area.
“A fine of $7,929 is appropriate. The issue has been observed in previous years, once receiving an official warning, and was both foreseeable and preventable,” said EPA North West Manager Dr Scott Pigdon.
“While EPA testing has confirmed the impacts were not severe, the fact is, it could have been prevented through infrastructure upgrades.”
On 19 July, EPA officers inspected the Cohuna Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) after reviewing the site’s hydrogeological assessment, which concluded treated waste water was being lost from one of the waste water storage lagoons.
The water seepage from the lagoon caused flooding over a large section of an adjoining farm. Coliban informed EPA that a drain had been installed in an attempt to capture the water seeping from the lagoon.
“It is stipulated in the EPA licence that waste from the premises must not be discharged to the environment except in accordance with this licence,’ explained Dr Pigdon.
“The risk to human health is low as the Cohuna WRP is quite isolated, but given the breach of licence, a fine of $7,929 is appropriate.”