Coliban Water is warning the Kyneton community that unfavourable weather conditions could result in further non-compliant water releases from its Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant.

Managing Director, Damian Wells, said protecting the Campaspe River is a critical priority, and Coliban Water has let the community down with the performance of the plant and its inadequate communication.

“We acknowledge that we must do better to meet environmental regulations and community expectations and we will do better,” Mr Wells said.

“Our plant is currently compliant with its Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria licence conditions. We have taken some really important steps to invest in plant improvements, but these infrastructure works will take time to complete.

“Until these works are completed the risk of non-compliant water releases remains. We made a commitment to keep the community informed on any issues and give advance warning of potential non-compliant releases.

“Last week we had an issue with the ultraviolet disinfection unit on the domestic plant. As a result, we have suspended releases to the Campaspe River until the unit is back online, which is expected to be within the next two weeks.”

The Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant has insufficient capacity to store treated water when there are not sufficient flows to release water to the Campaspe River and no demand for irrigation water.

“We are approaching a critical period between now and the start of the warmer weather when we will be able to irrigate,” Mr Wells said.

“There are two scenarios that cause us concern. The first is low flows in the river and our land is still too wet to irrigate. The second is a major wet weather event increasing inflows to the domestic plant when stormwater enters our sewer network. This is a common issue for sewer networks.

“The Phase 1 improvement works, currently underway at the plant and due to be completed in March 2020, will enable us to cope much better with these scenarios, but until then we still have a chance of breaching our EPA licence.

“The Kyneton Racecourse has started to take some water to fill up its dam for irrigation to support this great horseracing facility ahead of Kyneton Cup Day on Wednesday 6 November. Irrigation at our plant is expected to begin next week.

“We are also actively looking for other opportunities to use the recycled water rather than releasing to the Campaspe River.

“We are committed to keeping the local community, landowners and stakeholders informed and will involve them in decision-making relating to longer term works at the plant.”

Siobhan Day is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and Pump Industry magazine, and has been part of the team since early 2019. With a background in management in the non-profit sector, Siobhan has extensive experience in communications, professional writing and client management. She holds a Bachelor of Business and Communications and is currently completing a postgraduate degree.

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