A proposed discharge of low-grade recycled wastewater into Deep Creek at Romsey has been upgraded following community backlash.
Western Water aims to release 300 megalitres of recycled Class B water over two years to discharge excess wastewater that cannot be stored at its local Portingale Lane plant.
General manager Graham Holt said the planned discharge was Western Water’s best option, as the newly purchased 100 acres of land south of its current plant was not yet developed for irrigation purposes.
“The land is not developed enough at this stage for recycled water use. There is a project plan to have the land ready for irrigation by September 2021,” he said.
Western Water stated the number of directly impacted landowners would be limited to the three properties with land adjoining the stormwater drain.
The water authority held a community engagement session about the proposal at the Romsey Hub on Friday however several residents were surprised to learn indirectly about the session, and claimed there would have been more community interest if wider advance notice had been given.
Local landowners had aired concern about water quality and the potential loss of recent work to restore the creek.
“We have concerns about the frequency of the discharge and the ecological value of the water being released,” said Romsey resident Sue Kirkegard.
An Environment Protection Authority representative familiar with the recent illegal discharges into the Campaspe River at Kyneton was present at a Romsey information session as an observer.
Western Water will need approval and a licence amendment from the EPA for the recycled water discharge to occur and intends to make an application in early September.
Western Water states it will implement an extensive monitoring and testing program to manage the discharge and recycled water would only be released when there is sufficient flow in the creek.
Mr Holt said Western Water had been actively engaging with the community to gain their input on the proposal.
“We are committed to being transparent and will continue to address issues including those raised at a recent community engagement session,” he said.
“Western Water has already taken community input into consideration and will further improve the water quality via disinfection if the project proceeds.
“If wet weather continues and there is less demand for irrigation the discharge is necessary. It’s important to note that the water that may be discharged is irrigation standard water.”
Feedback is being considered until August 31.
To have your say, call senior environmental engineer William Rajendram on (03) 9218 5486.