Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has fined Central Gippsland Regional Water Corporation (CGRWC) over a discharge of Class C recycled water to Shillinglaw Creek, at Drouin.
EPA normally allows Class C water to be used for crop irrigation under controlled conditions, but not for drinking, bathing or swimming.
EPA Regional Manager Jessica Bandiera says that while it did not have a major effect on the environment, it was still a breach of licence conditions that are there to protect the public.
“Our officers were conducting a routine Licence Compliance Assessment inspection of the Drouin Waste Water Treatment Plant and observed a discharge into the creek from an unlicensed discharge point,” Ms Bandiera said.
“The EPA investigation established that the plant can treat 2.2 megalitres of domestic and trade waste water a day, but had been receiving up to 3 megalitres a day, and the extra waste water was being discharged to the creek,” she said.
“The treatment plant’s EPA licence takes into account overload situations and allows it to discharge extra waste water on up to 120 days a year, but the discharge had continued for more than 200 days and the organisation had not reported it to EPA – that’s two breaches of its licence.”
EPA has fined Central Gippsland Regional Water Corporation (CGRWC) $8,261.
“This is a clear message to any business that EPA licence conditions are there to protect the environment and the community, and must be taken seriously,” Ms Bandiera said.
“If you don’t take them seriously, you will find that EPA won’t hesitate to take enforcement action,” she said.
The Inspection took place on 20 October 2020.
Under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Infringements Act 2006, the organisation has the right to have the decision to issue the infringement notice reviewed or alternatively to have the matter heard and determined by a court.
Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24 hour hotline on 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).