Water worries

By Evelyn Leckie

THERE are fears Western Water’s plans to discharge recycled water into Deep Creek in Romsey will mirror the same negative effects which occured in Kyneton.

Due to a surplus in waste water at the Portingales Lane sewerage plant, Western Water is proposing to discharge ‘Class B’ recycled waste water into Deep Creek through the Romsey South Drain over a two-year period.

The proposed discharge into the creek will affect properties within two kilometres of Romsey South Drain, who might rely on direct access to the creek for agricultural or stock water use.

The deadline to provide feedback on the plans to Western Water has been pushed back following extensive feedback from community residents.

If approved, the waste water will be released when there is higher flow and rain in April through to October – diluting the waste water at a one to five ratio.

Class B water is treated water which isn’t suitable for drinking and has restrictions relating to human contact.

It can be used for stock water – except for pigs, human food crops grown over a metre above the ground, human food crops cooked or processed before sale to customers, non-human food production and industrial purposes.

In Kyneton, Coliban Water discharged ‘Class C’ recycled waste water into the Campaspe River from its Kyneton Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Kyneton resident Sallyanne Craig told ABC Radio she noticed filthy scum floating on the top of the Campaspe River surface.

Ms Craig warned Romsey residents of similar outcomes, saying water with high sewerage nutrients was a slow death to a waterway – encouraging blue green algae that produce neurotoxins in warmer weather.

Western Water hosted an initial community consultation session in Romsey on August 16 to discuss the proposed discharge of recycled water into Deep Creek.

Western Water general manager Graham Holt said the sewerage service provider was committed to engaging with the customers and the communities they serve.

“That’s why we’re extending the consultation period. This will ensure we are able to capture as much feedback as we can from our valued customers and stakeholders,” Mr Holt said.

“It’s important to note that, if this discharge is approved by the EPA, it is only temporary, and will be closely controlled in line with requirements set down by the EPA.

“The proposed discharge will continue until no later than October 2021. Throughout this time, Western Water will be undertaking an extensive monitoring and testing program to carefully manage the discharge.”

Western Water will need to obtain approval from the Environmental Protection Authority to discharge recycled water into Deep Creek.

Before applying to the EPA, Western Water will take all community feedback into consideration.

To find out more, visit WesternWater.com.au, or to make a submission, email feedback@westernwater.com.au.