New Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant licence

Coliban Water and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) have reached an outcome regarding the new operating licence for the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant.

In a statement from Coliban Water on April 3, the managing director Damian Wells said he is pleased the amended licence will contain environmental performance standards.

“[This] will protect the environment and human health, and [is] consistent with our Environment and Sustainability Policy.

“In 2019 we acknowledged the historical non-compliance issues at the plant, and began a $20 million investment program.

“Over the past four years this investment has delivered a dramatic step-change in environmental performance.”

Mr Wells said this includes a 95 per cent reduction in phosphorus in river releases, a trebling of treated water storage, a new 14 kilometre pipeline for recycled water and a new class c to class b recycled water facility.

He said there has also been an additional 350 megalitres of recycled water provided for agricultural use each year, as well as continued supply of recycled water to the Kyneton Racecourse, the Kyneton Botanic Gardens and local sports fields.

In its own statement, EPA said the decision to allow further amendments to the licence still gives appropriate protection for the health of the Campaspe River and the environment.

Coliban will be allowed to release up to two parts effluent per one part receiving water flow, but it can only do so for up 30 per cent of the 800 megalitre annual discharge they are licensed to release, EPA said.

The remaining annual limit can be discharged at one part effluent per three parts receiving water flow at any other time.

Coliban must also operate and maintain an interlock that automatically diverts effluent from the discharge pump station at the treatment plant to a holding lagoon when total ammonia concentration exceeds 1.4 milligrams per litre.

EPA said the outcome was reasonable and still gave good protection to the environment through extensive controls including automated systems, and allowed the Kyneton plant to operate responsibly.

This is a complex outcome and EPA said it will be engaging with the community to give a thorough explanation of how it will work while still delivering on our environmental goals.