Council acts on wastewater

Growing concerns over Coliban Water’s releases of low-quality wastewater into the Campaspe River have been relayed to the Minister for Water, Lisa Neville.
Last week Macedon Ranges Shire mayor, Cr Janet Pearce and CEO Margot Stork met with representatives from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and ministerial staff at Ms Neville’s Melbourne offices.
The mayor and CEO expressed concerns over Coliban Water’s emergency discharges of Class C recycled wastewater from its Kyneton Waste Water Treatment Plant into the Campaspe River. As a result, the Environment Protection Authority issued health warnings for residents and began an investigation into the releases.
While the health warnings have since been lifted by the EPA, council is continuing to advocate for a long-term solution to the problem with full transparency with the community.
The meeting follows a Notice of Motion at the Ordinary Council Meeting on June 26 where council decided to write to the EPA expressing concern over the water discharges and lack of consultation with council and the community. Council urged the EPA to expedite the investigation with full transparency to the community and made a request for a ministerial meeting.
Cr Pearce said discussions with DELWP and the Minister’s office had been fruitful.
“We were pleased to hear that Coliban Water has committed to ongoing communication and consultation with the community, including establishment of a reference group,” she said.
“We are now looking forward to working with the new general manager at Coliban Water and advocating for improvements to service delivery.
“We look forward to discussing issues in more detail, including why water quality readings are taken in Redesdale, which is 50 kilometres away from the discharge point. We will keep in close contact with the Minister’s office and DELWP as the issue unfolds.”
On May 31 the EPA approved an emergency discharge for Coliban Water to release Class B recycled wastewater in the hope that it would delay or avoid the need to discharge Class C water. However, Class C recycled water (industrial wastewater) was mixed with Class B recycled water and released into the Campaspe River. The releases affected landowners along the river downstream from the Kyneton plant who used river water for stock and domestic purposes.

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