Media Release issued: 24 October 2022
Update: Bruces Track recycled water release ceased 10 December, 2022.
Due to ongoing wet weather, East Gippsland Water will release recycled water from its Bruces Track Wastewater Treatment Plant at Kalimna West into Mississippi Creek, beginning Wednesday, 2 November.
A controlled release was scheduled to begin earlier in the month into Bellbird Creek, however an alternative route was investigated following community consultation.
East Gippsland Water Executive Manager Service Delivery, Neville Pearce said landowners who would be directly affected by a release into Bellbird Creek raised concerns about disruptions to farming activity if a release was to take place.
“As a result of our conversations with landholders along the Metung/Swan Reach Road, we decided to look at other options,” he said.
“Community engagement is a critical part of our decision-making and the Mississippi Creek route will have less impact, but also achieve the desired outcome.”
Mr Pearce said during preliminary investigations, the water currently in the Mississippi Creek was sampled and tested by an independent laboratory to establish the current water health.
“The results of that testing indicate that the recycled water we would be releasing into the Mississippi Creek has lower levels of bacteria than what is currently in the creek,” he said.
“On that basis, we are confident that the recycled water entering Mississippi Creek will not negatively impact the health of the creek and weekly water sampling and independent testing will be conducted.”
Ordinarily, treated wastewater was used for irrigation. However, the consistent wet weather has resulted in sodden farmland that can’t absorb any further water in irrigation.
With the third La Nina weather event beginning now, the potential for flooding throughout East Gippsland is a risk many organisations are facing.
East Gippsland Water is currently undertaking a controlled release at Omeo and it is anticipated a controlled released will be undertaken at its Newmerella facility in coming weeks due to the wet weather.