The Victorian Government has awarded three contracts for separate works on Coliban Water’s Bendigo Groundwater Project.

Victorian Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, said Lendlease was awarded a contract to design, construct, operate and maintain a groundwater treatment plant, Veolia Water Network would construct the pipeline, and Ward Bros from Rochester would construct the brine storage lagoon.

In total, the state government has provided $29.77 million in funding to manage rising groundwater in mine voids beneath Bendigo.

Ms Allan said, “The Victorian Government is fulfilling its commitment to the people of Bendigo by getting on with this essential project to protect the city and surrounding areas from contaminated groundwater from Bendigo’s historic mines.

“This community-led solution not only gives assurances for the future but importantly safeguards our ever popular Central Deborah Gold Mine from rising groundwater.”

The Bendigo Groundwater Project involves a total of 32 jobs across the construction, operation and maintenance of the treatment plant, pipeline and storage lagoon. Of the 32, five new jobs have been created across the treatment plant, pipeline and storage lagoon.

The refurbishment, construction and operation will deliver a four-year solution for managing the rising groundwater in the Central Deborah Gold Mine and preventing discharge and associated environmental and amenity impacts in and around Bendigo.

The groundwater has elevated levels of arsenic, heavy metals and salinity and gives off an unpleasant odour due to the presence of hydrogen sulphide gas.

With the treatment process in place, the groundwater will no longer need to be stored at the Woodvale evaporation ponds north west of Bendigo as was the previous practice.

Victorian Minister for Water, Lisa Neville, said, “This is a great example of the community, Coliban Water and the Victorian Government working together to provide an innovative solution to a serious issue for Bendigo.

“This solution will provide a positive outcome for the city – protecting jobs, the environment and liveability for Bendigo and surrounding communities.”

The appointment of contractors follows a tender process and an agreement between Coliban Water and Kralcopic that will drive investment towards a solution that contributes to the long term management of groundwater from mine voids beneath Bendigo.

When complete, the groundwater treatment facilities will be operational for an initial period of four years while plans for the permanent solution are progressed.

Naturally occurring groundwater within Bendigo’s network of disused and abandoned mines has been recovering to natural levels since mining ceased in 2011.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has carefully managed the groundwater and it does not pose an immediate risk to the environment or community.

The groundwater will be treated to remove contaminants and be available as an alternative source of water for beneficial use.

Works have commenced on schedule and the interim solution will be fully operational by mid-2017. 

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