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Storage capacity at the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant and works taking place as part of the Kyneton Solutions Project have been significantly impacted by La Niña wet weather conditions.

Coliban Water Managing Director, Damian Wells, said the $15-17 million investment will deliver improved treatment processes, and more than double the storage capacity at the plant in addition to new irrigation storages off-site. It will also provide greater protection to the Campaspe River.

“Phase 1 works were completed in March this year and works are underway as part of Phase 2, which include the construction of an additional 200-megalitres storage lagoon at the plant.  

“We had planned this would be completed by December this year, however wet weather is impacting the works on-site and we now anticipate works to be completed early in the new year.

“This delay, together with the delayed start to the irrigation season, has put pressure on our plant operations and lagoon levels.”

The current La Niña weather event means the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast wetter conditions for the next few months.

“The recent rainfall has caused a sharp increase in lagoon levels at the water reclamation plant,” Mr Wells said.

“Last week 55mm of rain fell in the region over two days, resulting in inflows to the plant which increased lagoon volume from 85 to 98 per cent. 

“Typical inflows to the plant average two megalitres per day and last week we experienced a day in which plant inflows exceeded eleven megalitres. 

“These high inflows are a combination of wastewater and additional infiltration and inflows to the sewer network that occur during storm events.

“We are currently releasing tertiary treated Class B recycled water to the Campaspe River, which is compliant with our Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria licence conditions for water quality and river flow dilution. Tertiary treated water is from the domestic system at our plant.

“With more wet weather forecast and until Phase 2 is completed early in the new year, we will need to release additional Class B recycled water to the Campaspe River.

“This water will come from our lagoon system and while not tertiary treated, it is treated to Class B standard through our recently commissioned new Class C to B treatment plant.  

“We are doing everything possible to remain compliant with our licence notwithstanding our challenging operating conditions. 

“We are planning to release around four megalitres of Class B recycled water per day in total from Monday 19 October 2020.”

A range of operational measures have been put in place to store and treat as much water on-site as possible, including the carting of treated water to other water reclamation plants.

“Also from Monday around eight truckloads a day will transport approximately 200 kilolitres of treated water per day to help create lagoon storage space at the plant,” Mr Wells said.

“We are continuing to keep downstream landowners and the EPA informed on plant operations.  Weekly updates will be provided via our website until lagoon levels decrease and the irrigation season commences.

“The current works that are well advanced are designed to achieve sustainable operations at the plant and manage rainfall events of this size.”

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