The corporation has also been placed on a two year good behaviour bond.
In August and September 2021, EGRWC cited unexpectedly high rainfall as the reason it needed to discharge wastewater from the Paynesville Water Recycling Plant at Forge Creek. Their application for an emergency discharge was not granted by EPA on the basis they should have foreseen such an event and been prepared.
EGRWC released about 138 ML, about 55 Olympic swimming pools, of wastewater resulting in increased risks of harm to the environment and human health.
“While there were extremes in the weather, EGRWC should have been better prepared and managed its water treatment capacity and storage to avoid the need for any discharge,” EPA Gippsland Regional Manager Jessica Bandiera said.
At Bairnsdale Magistrates Court, the magistrate agreed and has penalised EGRWC.
“We’re pleased also that the magistrate agreed with us that EGRWC should contribute financially to a project that will address some of the environmental issues the affected area is confronting,” Bandiera said
“EPA is working to ensure all wastewater treatment plants have updated risk management and monitoring plans in place, and this result sends a very clear message to all water companies that they must invest in improving their performance.”