12 Apostles Hot Springs P/L has applied for a works approval to construct two wastewater treatment systems for irrigation onsite. A works approval was previously issued for the proposal in 2018 (175145), which has since expired.

The full application can be viewed in the ‘Supporting documents’ section of this page.

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In lieu of a face-to-face information session, interested persons are encouraged to ask any questions about the works approval process or 12 Apostles Hot Springs P/L proposal here.

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12 Apostles Hot Springs P/L is proposing to construct two onsite wastewater treatment plants to treat up to 72kL/day (sewage) and 40kL/day (backwash water) using onsite land irrigation of Class B treated effluent, to be located at Lot 2, 172 Booringa Road in Princetown (application 1004413). The plants will service a proposed hot springs spa and resort.

A works approval was previously issued for the proposal in 2018 (175145) which has since expired due to construction delays associated with COVID-19. The current proposal has not changed in size or scope since the previous approval.

The treatment plants will independently treat two separate streams of wastewater: one stream from the toilets, spa and laundry (with a peak flowrate of 72kL/day); with the second stream from backwash spa water (40kL/day). Wastewater will be discharged via onsite irrigation systems that include a commercial, enclosed plant watering system, irrigation to paddocks and irrigation of a nursery.

The proposal has a council planning permit. The application was formally accepted on 28 April 2021.

EPA is assessing whether there would be any impacts on local groundwater or on soil from the treatment plants, since the treated wastewater will be used for irrigation and not taken offsite. If the application is approved, the systems may need to be licensed by EPA, depending on final flow rates.

A works approval is a statutory approval issued by EPA. It permits, subject to certain conditions, the construction of a plant (such as an industrial facility), installation of equipment or modification of a process.

Approval is required for industrial and waste management works that may result in any of the following:

  • discharge of waste into the environment (air, water or land)
  • an increase in, or alteration to, an existing discharge
  • a change in the way waste is treated or stored.

Our works approval process is designed to ensure the best and most cost-effective environmental outcomes on projects are achieved. Without works approvals there is an increased risk of industrial projects causing pollution and requiring expensive retrofitting. Works approvals are an opportunity to save energy and water, and to reduce waste at the project design stage, creating value for a business.

Public participation is an important principle of the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the works approval process. Accordingly, we invite the public to comment on works approval applications and some types of licence applications over a set consultation period.

We consider all such comments during our assessment of these applications. Applications are also referred to other relevant agencies for their review and advice.

The works approval process is designed to identify any community concerns early on and allow prompt resolution. If comments are received from any third parties, we give applicants an opportunity to address the concerns raised. We may also convene a conference of the parties to assist in resolving those concerns.

We complete our assessment taking into account our own technical appraisals, referral agency responses, public comments received and any applicant responses. We will then decide whether to issue a works approval and whether to attach any conditions to the approval.

The Environment Protection Act requires us to make a decision on works approval applications within four months of receiving a complete application, although we aim to complete our determination in three months. We may request further information from the applicant during the process or require an extension of time to complete the assessment.

If an appeal, by the applicant or affected third parties, is made against a works approval decision and/or any conditions attached to a works approval, the appeal will be heard by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

When a works approval has been issued, the applicant must construct the works in accordance with the approved plans and any conditions (which include a completion date for all works). When the works are complete, the applicant must contact EPA to arrange an inspection of them.

In most cases, a licence will then be required for operation of the works. Where appropriate, we will issue a commissioning approval before the licence, to allow startup and testing of initial operations and to confirm compliance with the works approval.

Further information on works approvals and EPA’s works approval process can be found in EPA works approvals (publication 1523).

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Fiona Pond

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