Following ongoing engagement with independent experts and a community remediation working group, Barwon Water has submitted a strengthened scope of works for its Boundary Creek and Big Swamp (and surrounding environment) remediation plan.
The revised scope of works outlines areas of confirmed need for remediation and areas identified for further investigation of potential impact, the environmental values to be included and the necessary environmental assessments and methodology proposed to develop the remediation plan.
If it is determined by Southern Rural Water that additional areas require remediation, Barwon Water will submit an amendment to the remediation plan.
Barwon Water made a commitment, when it submitted its original scope of works to Southern Rural Water in December 2018, that it would revise the scope of work subject to additional feedback from the remediation working group and its independent experts, as well as Southern Rural Water and its technical review panel.
At the request of the remediation working group, Barwon Water completed a comprehensive field program of scientific and environmental assessments to address information gaps including:
- soil sampling (more than 200 kg of soil was collected for analysis)updated LIDAR (light detection and ranging) imagery to more accurately map vegetation installation of monitoring equipment in Big Swamp
Barwon Water’s Chief Scientist, Dr Will Buchanan, said interim results of the soil sampling confirmed previous understanding of the soil characterisation of Big Swamp.
“These results provide a better understanding of the various soil types within the swamp to help inform remediation options for the swamp,” Dr Buchanan said.
Using this feedback and new scientific data, Barwon Water strengthened its scope of works and circulated to the remediation working group for review and feedback.
“In mid-July, Barwon Water met with the remediation working group and their nominated experts to discuss the revised scope of works document and share interim results of the field program,” Dr Buchanan said.
“Overall, the remediation working group were positive of the document and the work that had been completed to address Southern Rural Water’s review panel and working group experts feedback.
“The working group requested Barwon Water make final changes to the scope of works, mostly in relation to adding detail to the methodology section.”
Barwon Water submitted the revised scope of works to Southern Rural Water to review on 30 July 2019.
“We will continue to provide monthly updates to the remediation working group and will meet with the working group and their nominated experts in late September,” Dr Buchanan said.
The community remediation working group is made up of representatives from the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA), Colac Otway Shire Council, Land and Water Resources Otway Catchment (LAWROC), People for a Living Moorabool (PALM), Upper Barwon Landcare Group, Boundary Creek landowners, Traditional Owners and other interested community members.
A series of public information sessions is being planned to provide an update on the project and next steps to all members of the community. Dates and locations will be advertised shortly.
Preparing a scope of works is a critical step in the process required under the conditions of the Section 78 Ministerial Notice that was issued to Barwon Water in 2018, directing it to develop and implement a remediation plan for Boundary Creek and Big Swamp environments.