Coliban Water has begun an emergency discharge of Class C recycled waste water from its Kyneton Waste Water Treatment Plant to the Campaspe River affecting the river to Lake Eppalock.
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) will investigate the circumstances leading to the discharge.
Last week (31 May 2019) EPA approved an emergency discharge known as a Section 30A for Coliban to release Class B recycled waste water in the hope that it would delay or avoid the need to discharge Class C water. This was assessed as being the best outcome for the community and the environment.
However, Coliban has now proceeded with the Class C discharge for which there is no exemption
EPA is now investigating with the objective of requiring Coliban Water to undertake works to prevent similar discharges in the future.
“The discharge has water quality implications over a long stretch of the river and it is important the community is made aware of potential health issues it could create. EPA will monitor water quality and expects Coliban to do the same and make the results available to the community,” said EPA North West Regional Manager Dr Scott Pigdon
EPA recommends the following for use of water from the Campaspe River:
- Do not drink the water.
- Do not use the water for any domestic use such as washing, showering, bathing or processing food. This water may be used for flushing the toilets.
- Do not use the water for any recreational use such as filling backyard swimming pools.
- Do not consume any animal such as fish and crayfish caught in the Campaspe River.
- Do not use the water for irrigating food crops consumed raw. This water may be used for irrigating non-food crops such as turf, trees and flowers provided basic hygiene is practiced with a preference for using a underground drip-feed system. It may also be used to irrigate trees when produce grow 1 m above the ground. The produce should not be wet from the water used for irrigation when harvested. Dropped produce must not be harvested.
- Do not use the water for watering stock.
- Do not use the water as washdown water for milking machinery.
- The water can be used for irrigation of pasture and fodder for dairy cattle subject to a withholding period of 5 days before pasture use, drying or ensiling of fodder.
- Controls must be in place to ensure pigs are not exposed to pasture or fodder
EPA has been working with Coliban Water and a number of other regional water authorities to ensure they have long-term solutions to issues such as low rainfall and low river levels. If a licensee is found to have breached the conditions of their licence, EPA can require they complete upgrade works to their facilities to address risks and ensure they comply with their licence.