We have applied to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria for approval to release recycled water into Port Phillip Bay at Indented Head.
The Portarlington Water Reclamation Plant treats domestic wastewater from Portarlington, Indented Head and St Leonards. It supplies Class C recycled water to the Scotchmans Hill vineyard and Portarlington Golf Club.
Due to the combination of high winter rainfall and low local demand for recycled water, inflow volumes to the treatment plant are up to 4 times higher than normal, our storage lagoons are full, and we urgently need to release excess recycled water.
Under the application, the recycled water would be discharged over Barwon Water land adjacent to the treatment facility and then via the stormwater system to the bay at Indented Head.
Near-saturated ground ruled out the option of irrigating nearby Barwon Water tree lots. Transporting the recycled water by road would mean 10–15 semi trailers daily around the clock for the next 3 months — an unacceptably high amount of local heavy vehicle traffic.
The discharge is proposed under a temporary approval from EPA Victoria. We have undertaken an ecological risk assessment and will take regular water samples as part of a rigorous and ongoing monitoring program. Samples will be analysed at an independent laboratory and the results supplied to the EPA.
The excess recycled water is Class C recycled water, already certified under EPA guidelines, and is suitable for irrigating public open spaces, sporting fields, and certain crops.
We continue to work with local residents and stakeholder agencies including the City of Greater Geelong, Parks Victoria, Department of Primary Industries, Bellarine Bayside and the Indented Head Community Association throughout this process.
We are investigating options to avoid emergency recycled water discharges in the future. Options under consideration include increasing the capacity of the plant and transferring recycled water to the much larger Black Rock treatment facility in Connewarre via the sewerage network.
If you have comments or concerns, please contact us.