Vandalism and rubbish dumping on the site of Coliban Water’s Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant in Epsom is causing damage to the biosolid process in wastewater treatment.
Over the past few years there have been several incidents of rubbish dumping, and damage to perimeter gates and fences at an area of the plant, north of Simpsons Road.
Coliban Water General Manager Strategy and Governance Andrew Cooney said there had been a recent increase in this type of activity at the plant.
“People illegally entering our plant may not be aware that part of the land is used for treating biosolids,” Mr Cooney said.
“The drying of biosolids is a controlled process in the treatment of wastewater sludge, and is regulated by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria.”
Mr Cooney said in the past six months Coliban Water has spent more than $7,000 replacing fencing and signage around the plant.
“Signage on perimeter gates and fences is being ignored and vandalised. In February, gates to the site were rammed, and the gates near the biosolid drying area were stolen and the area has been driven over several times.
“This is damaging the biosolid process. Biosolids are used as fertiliser and can contain pathogens. As with all fertilisers, good hygiene practices are essential for people coming in contact with them,” Mr Cooney said.
The biosolid drying area and surrounding parkland is also being used for illegal rubbish dumping.
“Dumped items over the last six months include mattresses, child car seats, car parts and general household waste.
“Illegal dumping causes land pollution and impacts on native plants and animals. It is potentially dangerous for our staff cleaning up and a waste of their time and resources, as we have to regularly patrol the area.
“These costs and the costs to repair fencing and signage are ultimately passed on to our customers,” Mr Cooney said.