4C) Improved environmental and community recreation outcomes in riparian zones - through environmental offsets projects

About this project

In response to wastewater treatment capacity constraints, we have developed an Environmental Offsets Project (EOP) that involves low energy treatment upgrades and in-stream catchment and riparian improvements, rather than relying upon traditional engineering responses.
An EOP involves upgrading an existing lagoon-based treatment system with low energy treatment technologies – such as efficient aeration, rock filters, treatment wetlands, nutrient removal and disinfection – to improve the final water quality prior to discharging it to a creek, and then implementing offsets within the catchment, such as fencing of stock from waterways, riparian zone improvement or erosion rehabilitation, to improve stream health. We have received Environment Protection Agency (EPA) approval to implement an EOP at Kilmore.

Actions to date

Construction upgrades at the Kilmore Wastewater Management Facility (WMF) to improve final water quality are now complete and signed off by the EPA, including upgraded aeration, nutrient removal processes, polishing wetlands and disinfection systems.
Based on catchment modelling, we set a target to remove 945kg of phosphorus from Kilmore and Kurkurac Creek catchments by 2025 via environmental catchment offsets. We now have nine landowner agreements in place that are modelled to remove 1026kg of phosphorus - more than our target.
On-ground works (such as re-vegetation, creek fencing, weed management and gully erosion works) with the agreed participants are either completed or nearing completion and we’ve kept them informed of the project’s progress through a stakeholder engagement process. The first annual inspection for some landholders participating in the offsets program has been completed in conjunction with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, which is undertaking offset works on our behalf.

What's next?

Once we’ve received approval from the EPA to amend our Kilmore WMF licence, we’ll begin controlled releases of reclaimed water into the Kilmore Creek as per requirements determined at the outset of the project. We believe this will improve flow regimes in the waterway and create improved conditions for aquatic fauna such as macroinvertebrates and fish. We’ll continually monitor water quality and assess any potential impact (including any benefits) from reclaimed water releases and catchment offsets.
With the majority of the Kilmore project completed and with a higher offset outcome than previously anticipated, we’ll now continue planning and assessing options for a solution at Mansfield. We’ll also investigate any potential additional irrigation opportunities. 

Our accountability for this project

If GVW is not successful in implementing EOPs we will face possible sanctions from the EPA, and will then have to make compensating expenditures (possibly by traditional means) to rectify the situation. This provides incentive for us to deliver these projects and outcomes.

For this information in PDF form, click here to download the factsheet (PDF: 542.4KB)