Media Release


28 March 2019

Ten kilometres of land along the Campaspe River and Post Office Creek in Kyneton will see the benefits of environmental improvement works, as part of a project to offset the impact of releases from the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant to the Campaspe River.

The $2.1 million Kyneton Offsets Project will commence in April and will be delivered in partnership with the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA). The project will involve the removal of willows and subsequent fencing and revegetation along Post Office Creek and Campaspe River waterways.

Executive General Manager Water Quality David Sheehan said the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant released treated wastewater to the Campaspe River under an Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Licence; however, was facing ongoing challenges in meeting compliance conditions within the Licence.

“The operation of the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant is challenged with a combination of an increase in inflow volumes to the plant from the growing area that it services, and a reduction in periods when there is appropriate flow rates within the Campaspe River to accommodate the treated water release.

“These factors impact on our ability to meet conditions related to the quality of water released and the volume of water released within our EPA Licence.

“Over the next four years, we are developing and implementing a plan to upgrade the plant to ensure the site continues to meet service and EPA requirements for the next 20 years.

“In the interim, prior to these capital improvements being completed, this project will improve general waterway health through the removal of willows and stock from the waterway, and revegetating the area with native species,” Mr Sheehan said.

Twenty-one hectares of river frontage will be revegetated as part of the project, using native trees and shrubs. Twelve kilometres of fencing will also be installed to keep livestock out of the waterway.

Off-stream watering arrangements will be provided to landholders who will require an alternative water source for stock as a result of these works.

“This project will see the continuation of the North Central CMA’s successful Caring for the Campaspe project, which aims to enhance the waterway health and biodiversity of the Campaspe River,” Mr Sheehan said.

North Central CMA Project Manager Angela Gladman said these works would complete the removal of willows along the Campaspe River in the Kyneton area.

“Over the past seven years, the Victorian government funded Caring for the Campaspe project, has teamed up with over 160 landholders and partner agencies to install 65 kilometres of fencing along the river, revegetate 250 hectares and more than 369 hectares of weed control works; which has included 15 kilometres of willow removal in the Kyneton area.

“Unlike most other vegetation, willows spread their matted roots across the stream bed smothering habitat favoured by platypus. They also drop large amounts of rotting leaves during autumn.

“These leaves leach chemicals including cyanidins and delphinidins into the water that has a detrimental impact on water quality and therefore waterbugs and native fish,” Ms Gladman said.

Local contractors will commence willow removal works the week of Monday 1 April and are expected to be completed by the end of June 2019, with revegetation works commencing in spring.

“As part of this contract, revegetation will be managed to achieve a minimum of 80 per cent survival rate over a four-year period to ensure the success of the indigenous trees, shrubs and grasses planted in these areas,” Ms Gladman said.

Coliban Water continues to consult with the EPA on the environmental factors it requires to be in place to ensure performance at the Kyneton Water Reclamation Plant remains accountable.

“We continue to consult with the EPA on proposed amendments to our Licence that accounts for the offsetting arrangements in the interim of the capital works being completed at the site.

“This ‘offset’ will help to ensure water quality at the release point of the plant and beyond is maintained in the short term whilst we work with the EPA on significant plant upgrades to address population growth in the Kyneton region,” Mr Sheehan said.

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