Coliban faces 11 charges over Campaspe pollution

By Vanessa Wiltshire

THE Environment Protection Authority Victoria released a statement last week, saying 11 charges had been laid against Coliban Region Water Authority under the Environment Protection Act 1970.

The charges follow a comprehensive investigation into the release of treated effluent to the Campaspe River, and relate to discharges that occurred from May to August 2019.

The prosecution will allege the discharges caused an environmental hazard, polluted waters, and resulted in non-compliance with licence conditions during 2018 and 2019.

Breaching licence conditions, causing an environmental hazard and pollution of waters are criminal offences under sections s27, s27A and s39 of the act.

In conjunction with the release Water Minister Lisa Neville issued a statement saying the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant would undergo a major redevelopment, with the announcement of the phase two works to begin at the site.

“I’m pleased to see rapid action taken on this issue, for the health of the Campaspe River and the community,” Ms Neville said.

“I congratulate Coliban Water for its proactive approach on going ahead and getting the job done.”

Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas visited the facility last Monday to inspect phase one works and announce phase two.

“The Kyneton community has been vocal on this issue and we have listened. It’s time there is a wastewater treatment facility to meet the expectations of the community,” she said.

The multimillion-dollar investment will more than double storage and increase irrigation capacity at the plant, as well as update treatment processes, so that only class B water is used for off-site irrigation and tertiary treated water is released to the Campaspe River.

Phase two will deliver the construction of a Class C to B treatment plant for the trade waste treatment stream, additional storage of approximately 200 Ml and additional irrigation areas including the transfer pipework and irrigation infrastructure.

Phase two is expected to be complete in December 2020, pending planning and regulatory approvals.

The works follow on from phase one currently under way, which includes a series of improved treatment processes in the lagoons and tanks for storage of Class B water for irrigation at Hardwick Meatworks.

The redevelopment is expected to be able to serve the Kyneton region until 2040.

More information is available at the Kyneton Solutions Project page of Coliban Water’s website.

EPA guidelines regarding discharge of waste causing an environmental hazard and pollution of waters are available at