Works approval granted

EPA has assessed the works approval application, and on 16 April 2019 issued a works approval to Central Gippsland Regional Water Corporation, for the upgrade of its wastewater treatment plant in Drouin.

The works approval is available to view under the Supporting documents section of this page.

Central Gippsland Region Water Corporation’s proposal

Central Gippsland Water has submitted a works approval application for the upgrade of its wastewater treatment plant in Drouin. The plant treats sewage from the township of Drouin under an EPA licence. Due to rapid population growth, the company is seeking to upgrade the capacity of the existing plant.

The works approval application was received on 16 November 2018 and accepted by EPA on 7 December 2018. It was advertised in the Warragul Drouin Gazette on 15 January , and the Herald Sun on 16 January 2019.

Central Gippsland Region Water Corporation is seeking to upgrade the capacity of the existing plant in Drouin. The plant currently operates with an EPA licence, which allows the discharge of treated wastewater to Shillinglaw Creek.

Proposed works at the treatment plant include the development of a new membrane bio-reactor for improved wastewater treatment performance. The upgrades will also allow for an increase in treatment capacity from an average dry weather flow of 2.5 megalitre/day (ML/day) to 4.2 ML/day and a peak wet weather flow from 6 ML/day to 12.6 ML/day.

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.

During this consultation period, we may hold public open-house information sessions to explain the works approval process and provide information on the works approval application. 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).

On 1 March 2019, EPA issued Central Gippsland Region Water Corporation with a notice under section 22 of the Environment Protection Act (the Act). The notice required the company to provide:

  • updated odour monitoring
  • an updated odour impact assessment
  • additional technical details
  • justification of the odour modelling and impact risk assessment.

EPA’s notice, and Central Gippsland Water’s response can be found under ‘Supporting documents’.

On 15 March, EPA issued the water corporation a second notice under section 22 of the Act. This notice required the company to provide:

  • a response to referral comments from Melbourne Water Corporation
  • technical details and contingency arrangements for the proposed wastewater treatment technology
  • further consideration of surface water discharge treatment options, and their impacts.

A response to the notice has been received and is in ‘Supporting documents' on this page

Central Gippsland Water provided EPA a time waiver under section 67A of the Act. This made EPA’s decision on the works approval application due on 16 April 2019.