EPA fines water authority

Environment Protection Authority Victoria has issued Gippsland Water with a penalty infringement notice of more than $7500 for a spill from the Regional Outfall Sewer in Rosedale in March.

EPA Gippsland manager Emily Sanders said the spill of about 13.6 megalitres, which included about four megalitres of rainwater, was made up of treated wastewater and sewage coming from the Gippsland Water Factory.

“The spill occurred in an area of low-density residential housing and farmland and flowed to an area where water pools, so was contained pretty quickly,” Ms Sanders said.

“This was treated wastewater, so could be used for irrigation in certain circumstances; however, its salt content and the significant volume meant there was an impact to farmland.

“This required immediate remediation, and Gippsland Water acted to re-seed pasture and had gypsum applied.

“Remediation took place with advice from an agronomist organised by Gippsland Water and a follow-up plan was established at a cost of about $15,000, which was on top of clean-up works that cost about $400,000.”

Ms Sanders said the pollution, which took about a week to remove, occurred because of a damaged pipeline.

“Clean-up of the spill was conducted using eduction trucks and the waste was transported to a holding dam; the pipe was repaired within three days,” Ms Sanders said.

EPA inspected the site and ensured that treated wastewater did not enter any freshwater creeks.

EPA urges members of the public to report suspected pollution to EPA on 1300 372 842 or at www.epa.vic.gov.au