Updated proposal for Warrnambool Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade

29 January 2021

Wannon Water has announced several changes to its $40 million Warrnambool Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade Project to improve environmental protections.

The changes respond to feedback from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and community members and follow detailed analysis and modelling of the coastal environment.

The plant services Warrnambool, Allansford and Koroit and is currently operating near the limit of its treatment capacity.

The upgrade will ensure the plant has sufficient capacity for a projected increase in sewage volumes while continuing to protect the environment, and includes improved inlet and outlet screening.

Managing Director Andrew Jeffers said the EPA requested further information as part of its assessment of the Works Approval Application for the project.

“After extensive investigation, we have prepared additional information and put forward a revised proposal, one we believe responds to the concerns of some community members and ensures that we comply with the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters),” Mr Jeffers said.

“The major change is additional treatment to reduce the amount of nutrients going to the ocean now and into the future. It‘s a significant improvement.

“We are also proposing to expand our already extensive ocean outfall monitoring program, which will ensure any effects that could pose a threat to ecological or human health are identified early and inform future upgrades.”

Mr Jeffers said the changes to the upgrade proposal would have a moderate increase on the costs of operating the plant, which would be included in future budgets. “An offset of this is the project’s important benefits for the environment and the regional economy.”

Wannon Water has previously announced plans for community engagement on a range of further improvements, such as tertiary treatment, recycling and extending the ocean outfall. The outcomes will be included in its 2023-28 Price Submission to the Essential Services Commission.