Ministerial meeting on Kyneton waste water release

Council representatives expressed the community’s concerns over Coliban Water’s releases of low quality waste water into the Campaspe River at a meeting at the Minister’s office in Melbourne.

Last week the Mayor, Cr Janet Pearce and Chief Executive Officer, Margot Stork met with representatives from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and ministerial staff at the offices of the Minister for Water, Lisa Neville.

The Mayor and CEO expressed concerns over Coliban Water’s emergency discharge of Class C recycled waste water from its Kyneton Waste Water Treatment Plant into the Campaspe River. As a result, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued health warnings for residents and started an investigation into the releases.

While Council is pleased the health warnings have since been lifted by the EPA, it continues to advocate for a long-term solution to the problem with full transparency with the community.

The meeting follows a Notice of Motion at the Ordinary Council Meeting on 26 June where Council decided to write to the EPA expressing concern over the water discharges and lack of consultation with Council and the community. Council urged the EPA to expedite the investigation with full transparency to the community and made a request for a ministerial meeting.

Mayor, Cr Janet Pearce said discussions with DELWP and the Minister’s office over releases of low quality water (Class C water) into the Campaspe River by Coliban Water had been fruitful.

“We wish to ensure the local community are kept well informed as the investigation by the EPA into the releases continues,” Cr Pearce said. “Council wants to ensure this investigation is a priority for the EPA and there is a commitment that the community will be consulted regarding longer-term solutions to the problem.

“We were pleased to hear that Coliban Water has committed to ongoing communication and consultation with the community, including establishment of a reference group.

“We are now looking forward to working with the new General Manager at Coliban Water and advocating for improvements to service delivery. We look forward to discussing issues in more detail, including why water quality readings are taken in Redesdale, which is 50 km away from the discharge point. We will keep in close contact with the Minister’s office and DELWP as the issue unfolds.”

On 31 May the EPA approved an emergency discharge for Coliban Water to release Class B recycled waste water in the hope that it would delay or avoid the need to discharge Class C water. However, Class C recycled water (industrial waste water) was mixed with Class B recycled water and released into the Campaspe River. The releases affected landowners along the river downstream the Kyneton plant who used river water for stock and domestic purposes.

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