An unlicensed discharge of Class B recycled water at Gisborne by Western Region Water Authority has been met with a fine from Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).

The spill of more than 40 megalitres, which occurred at the Willows (South of Mills Road) in Gisborne, happened in June and was later estimated to have been leaking over a four month period. Although there was only limited environmental impacts, EPA North West Region investigated the discharge and found Western Region Water Corporation did not have systems in place to promptly identify infrastructure failures and take appropriate action which was a major factor in EPA taking enforcement action in this case.

“Western Water is obliged to inform EPA if spills of this nature occur. Some of the spilled recycled water found its way into Jackson Creek, however this only had limited short term impact due to having already gone through the waste water treatment process," said EPA North West Team Leader Compliance and Enforcement Paul Ratajczyk.

"While the environmental harm was limited, it is a condition of the EPA licence that Water Corporations have appropriate systems, controls and infrastructure in place to prevent spills of this nature or are able to rapidly identify and rectify issues,  this was not the case in this instance.

“EPA expects that Western Water should have been more diligent in monitoring of the facility and it is clear that further precautions could have been in place. A fine of $8,261 has been imposed.”

Reviewed 21 September 2020