EPA's role is to reduce the harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste. At the Coliban Water Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) we do this by:
- making sure any discharge to the river is low risk
- monitoring compliance with licence conditions
- taking compliance and enforcement action when licence conditions are not met.
We laid charges against Coliban Water for licence breaches
We have laid 11 charges against Coliban Region Water Authority under the Environment Protection Act 1970. This followed an investigation into the release of treated effluent to the Campaspe River, outside of EPA licence conditions. Charges relate to a discharge that occurred during May and June 2019 and compliance with licence conditions during the 2018-2019 licence reporting period.
The charges allege that Coliban Water released treated effluent to the Campaspe River in breach of their licence, causing or permitting an environmental hazard and pollution of waters.
We issued legal notices
The Campaspe River has flowed less in recent years. Coliban Water has a licence condition that its discharges must not be more than 20 per cent of river flow. As part of its operation, Coliban Water must be able to meet its licence conditions.
We issued legal notices to Coliban Water that require it to:
- undertake required works or processes to address storage constraints at the Kyneton WRP
- install a flow meter upstream of the Kyneton WRP discharge point
- start collecting monitoring data by February 2020.
We continue to monitor Coliban Water’s compliance. If we find further non-compliance, we’ll take additional action to protect the local community.
Other enforcement and preventative actions we’ve taken
We monitor the Kyneton WRP closely. We conduct unannounced compliance assessments of the plant to check they are complying with their licence.
We conducted sampling of the Campaspe River and its tributary, Snipes Creek. This led to compliance and enforcement work in these catchments. As a result, we stopped two discharges to Snipes Creek. In response to pollution reports, we have been inspecting the creek and industries in the catchment. Investigation into these pollution reports is continuing.
Coliban’s Kyneton Offsets Project
In partnership with North Central Catchment Management Authority, Coliban Water is considering the Kyneton Offsets Project. It aims to improve the river’s short-term water quality.
The project requires a change to Coliban Water’s EPA licence. Coliban Water hasn’t lodged an application to change its licence. We’ll consider a licence change if Coliban Water can show environmental or public health benefits.
Our role in Coliban’s Kyneton Solutions Project
Coliban Water aims to upgrade the WRP through its Kyneton Solutions Project. Phase one involves an agreement with Hardwicks Meatworks. Hardwick Meatworks is an abattoir sending large amounts of wastewater to Coliban Water for treatment.
For phase one to go ahead, we required Hardwicks Meatworks to make an Environment Improvement Plan (EIP). We assessed and accepted the revised EIP. It met the publication’s standards on human health and environment protection objectives.
Contact us for more information about the discharge at Kyneton.
More about the treated wastewater discharge at Kyneton
Reviewed 15 March 2021