Update on Korumburra Wastewater Treatment Plant

Monday, February 22, 2021

South Gippsland residents may have noticed an increased number of trucks on our roads as South Gippsland Water works hard to bring Korumburra Wastewater Treatment Plant back to its normal operation.

Over the past week, South Gippsland Water has been using local contractors to safely, and securely, truck wastewater from the plant to other sites.

Our major trade waste customers have been supportive in reducing the amount of waste they produce and implementing a process to transfer directly from their factories to alternate wastewater treatment plants. We thank them for those efforts.

Wastewater treatment is largely a natural process, completed by micro bugs. We’re removing wastewater from the Korumburra plant to better aerate the remaining wastewater and increase the number of healthy micro bugs, as well as reseeding the plant with new micro bugs. The unusual waste discharge that impacted our operations at the plant seriously impacted these micro bags and the natural balance of this process.

Due to the unusual nature of the discharge, effluent outside licence parameters went through our plant and into Foster Creek. We’re investigating any potential environmental impacts to Foster Creek.

Our staff are continuing to monitor Foster Creek’s water quality downstream from the plant. We’re working with the Environment Protection Authority, Agriculture Victoria, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to protect the environment and those who use the water from Foster Creek.

We cannot yet give an exact timeframe on when we’re able to return Korumburra Wastewater Treatment Plant to normal operations.

For this reason, along with stakeholder advice, we’re continuing to advise landholders not to take water for stock and domestic purposes from Foster Creek until further notice, seek alternative arrangements to access water and continue to monitor stock.

We also advise the community not to swim in Foster Creek, drink the water or use it for any other purpose such as filling backyard swimming pools until further notice.

We’ve had conversations with those farmers who may be directly affected by this event and will continue to keep them informed as we return to more normal operations.

We would like to remind the community to be mindful of the additional traffic on the roads. We thank you for your patience, as we work hard to return Korumburra Wastewater Treatment Plant to its normal operations.

The Korumburra Wastewater Treatment Plant is not connected in any way to the potable (drinking) water we supply. So if your tap water comes from South Gippsland Water’s supplies, it is safe to drink.

For further information, visit our website at sgwater.com.au. If you would like to know more about the wastewater treatment process contact our friendly customer service team on 1300 851 363.

Other points of contact:

Agriculture Victoria – 0459247955 (Craig Swain)

Environment Protection Authority – 1300 372 842

Landowners

  • We are continuing to advise landholders not to take water for stock and domestic purposes from Foster Creek. Landowners should seek alternative arrangements to access water and continue to monitor stock until further notice.

Community use of Foster Creek

Towns downstream of the Korumburra Wastewater Treatment Plant are most likely to notice increased traffic, odours or changes to the colour of Foster Creek’s water.

These include:

  • Korumburra
  • Bena
  • Kongwak
  • Moyarra
  • Jumbunna
  • Whitelaw

EPA is recommending the following for the use of water from Foster Creek:

  • Do not drink the water.
  • Do not use the water for any domestic use such as washing, showering, bathing or processing food.
  • Do not use the water for any recreational use including filling backyard swimming pools.
  • Do not consume any animal such as fish and crayfish caught in these waters
  • Do not use the water for irrigating food crops, turf, trees and flowers.
  • Do not use the water for watering stock.
  • Do not use the water as washdown water for machinery.
  • Do not use the water for irrigation and fodder. Controls must be in place to ensure pigs and cattle are not exposed to pasture or fodder contaminated by wastewater.


Works at Korumburra Wastewater Treatment Plant

You may notice a smell around Korumburra and specifically Bena Road depending on wind direction, that is due to the compromised treatment process.

You may also notice an increased number of trucks in the outskirts of Bena Road, Korumburra and on Bunurong Coastal Drive, over the next few weeks as we transfer waste.

South Gippsland Water are attempting to minimise noise, odour and other impacts as we work to get the plant back to normal operations.

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