River woes continue

The Campaspe River in flood at Greenhill last year.

Ongoing troubles at the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant have forced Coliban Water to increase releases of wastewater from the plant to the Campaspe River from last Friday.

Despite the construction of new storage lagoons at the plant, lagoon volume last week reached 92 per cent, and the Environment Protection Agency was informed of the current operating status at the site.

Managing director Damian Wells said affected landowners had been notified and the releases would be in line with Coliban’s EPA licence conditions for water quality.

“The final stage of our $17 million Kyneton Solutions Project is the Kyneton Recycled Water Irrigation Scheme, which will pipe Class C water to irrigators,” Mr Wells said.

“Until this pipeline is complete in the first part of 2022, and the storage/irrigation and release model can be balanced, we need to manage water at the plant to avoid uncontrolled releases to the environment.”

Greenhill farmer Huntly Barton said he and other landowners continued to be frustrated with the ongoing release of trade wastewater, which Coliban Water had promised never to release to the river again.

“They need to spend money to find a solution for the invasion of stormwater into the sewerage system because this is what’s causing the problem,” Mr Barton said.

“This is a problem that we know is not going to be resolved soon and it’s going to take years but they need to change their direction and the board must lead them.

“The direction has to be to produce a higher quality of water that will not damage the environment, that’s the only solution in the long term.”

Mr Barton said Coliban Water’s board needed to be held accountable.

“Storage has been their only solution and we thought it would take five years to fill their new dams, but they’ve filled in 18 months,” he said.

“They’ve gone from storing 200 megalitres of trade wastewater 18 months ago to 700 megalitres of water.

“These ponds have filled from average seasonal rainfall.”

Mr Wells said Coliban Water was in final negotiations with expression of interest applicants for the Kyneton Recycled Water Irrigation Scheme.