Campaspe River landowners unimpressed with offsets project

Revegetation works on the Campaspe River for the Kyneton Offsets Project.

A Coliban Water project aimed at improving water quality in the Campaspe River has left local landowners unimpressed.
Coliban Water is investing $2.1 million in the Kyneton Offsets Project for fencing and revegetation works along the river.
The project originally formed part of an application from Coliban Water to change its Environmental Protection Authority licence conditions for the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant.
The plan was to improve water quality to allow for a reduction in the required dilution ratio for excess wastewater released to the river (from 5:1 to 2:1), however, new managing director Damian Wells has promised not to pursue the licence variation “until the community is supportive and the EPA is satisfied”.
Mr Wells said he was confident the offsets project would have a positive impact on water quality and catchment health.
“We are committed to delivering the Kyneton Offsets Project and upgrading our Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant,” he said.
“Last week we announced Phase One works to upgrade our plant and an agreement with Hardwick Meatworks.
“Hardwicks are installing equipment to improve the quality of the wastewater it sends to our plant, and creating storage capacity for onsite irrigation with Class B treated water.
“We are committed to working with the community, landowners and the EPA to ensure the water released from our plant is beneficial to the waterways and the environment.”
But landowners along the river say the offsets project, while offering some benefits to river health, will do nothing to mitigate the ongoing contamination of the river by low-grade wastewater releases from the plant.
They say the plant must be upgraded to produce only high-standard Class B wastewater (see Opinions, Midland Express, October 15).
Coliban Water has engaged an independent consultant, Professor Vincent Pettigrove, to monitor the impact the offsets project has on water quality and catchment health.
Prof Pettigrove has been gathering data on the condition of the waterways over the last 12 months. The results of the monitoring program will be published next year.