Wannon Region Water Corporation (WRWC) has applied for a works approval to upgrade their sewage treatment plant (STP) in Elliot St, Warrnambool. The upgrade to the plant is needed to increase capacity to manage demand for sewage and wastewater treatment until 2040.
A copy of the works approval application (number 1003877) and its appendices can be viewed in the 'Supporting documents' section of this page.
For more information on the works approval process see EPA works approvals (publication 1523.2).
Development licence issued
EPA has issued a Development Licence, subject to conditions, to Wannon Water to upgrade their sewage treatment plant in Elliot St, Warrnambool. The upgrade to the plant will increase capacity to manage demand for sewage and wastewater treatment until 2040.
You can view the application documents, assessment report and the Development Licence in the ‘Supporting documents’ section on this page.
The upgraded plant will be subject to licence conditions that tighten the limits for suspended solids, nitrogen, phosphorous and ammonia compared to the current plant. The development licence requires Wannon Water to remove the influence of the mixing zone water discharge on the shoreline. It also requires them to implement rapid dilution which will significantly reduce the size of the mixing zone.
Wannon Water must notify EPA when they intend to start and ﬁnish the construction associated with the development activity and must not commission or operate components of the development activity without approval of EPA. The Development Licence will not take effect until any permit that is required under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 has been issued by the Responsible Planning Authority.
If you object to the issuing of the Development Licence or its conditions, you may have the decision reviewed at VCAT by applying in writing within 15 business days of the date of issue to:
Registrar, Planning and Environment Division
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
7th Floor, 55 King Street, Melbourne
An application fee may be applicable when lodging an appeal with VCAT. Contact VCAT on 03 9628 9777 for further details on fees associated with an appeal.
A copy of the appeal should also be forwarded, within seven days of lodgement, to:
Manager, Development Assessments Unit
Environment Protection Authority Victoria
GPO Box 4395, Melbourne 3001
On 1 July 2021, the new Environment Protection Act 2017 and Environment Protection Regulations 2021 commenced. These laws introduce a new environment protection regulatory model for Victoria.
These new laws include a new permissions scheme. Under this scheme, works approvals are replaced by development licences.
EPA hosted an online community conference on 5 August 2020 in response to public submissions for the Wannon Region Water Corporations proposal. You can view a recording of the event, and associated materials on this page below.
A key output of the Conference is a report documenting the key issues, opinions, and concerns of conference participants and which includes the Chair’s recommendations for EPA’s consideration.
The report provided by the independent Chair of the conference is now available under the 'Conference materials' heading in the 'Supporting documents' section on this page.
The purpose of the Conference Report is to:
• Provide an independent perspective of the Conference;
• Highlight issues raised during the Conference;
• Identify issues that were resolved; and
• Record recommendations for EPA to consider during the assessment of the works approval application.
On the night of the community conference, time did not allow Wannon Water to respond to all questions posed by community. A response has now been provided and is available to read under the 'Conference materials' section under the 'Supporting documents' list on this page.
Following analysis of by EPA’s internal experts of Wannon Water Corporation’s Works Approval application, EPA have issued a notice to Wannon Region Water Corporation requesting further information. The notice requests several things:
- That an independent human health risk assessment be prepared and provided to EPA
- That Wannon Region Water Corporation provide a revised proposal for the plant design and outfall configuration that complies with SEPP (Waters).
- Provide root cause analysis and engineering solutions for the Dirty Decant issue evident with the current operation of the plant and the problem of microplastics being discharged.
- Explain the future monitoring of the waste discharge and how Wannon Water will be able to detect when the discharge becomes non-compliant.
- That the applicant provides a response to the submissions received.
Wannon Region Water corporation have until 5 pm, 14 August to provide this information. If the information is not provided by this time or the information provided is not deemed acceptable by EPA, the assessment 'clock' is paused until an acceptable response is received.
A copy of the notice is available in the ‘Supporting documents’ section of this page.
EPA hosted an online community conference in response to public submissions for the Wannon Region Water Corporation proposal.
The purpose of the conference was to:
- enable EPA and the applicant to listen to, and better understand, the views and concerns of the community and stakeholders
- help explain the works approval application, the assessment process and current status
- discuss ideas about possible resolution of concerns and conditions if the works approval is issued.
The conference was independently chaired, and the chair will prepare a conference report, including recommendations for EPA Victoria to consider in its assessment of the works approval application.
The recording of the video is now available on this page.
Submissions on this works approval application are now closed. EPA received 83 submissions from members of the public.
All submissions are now available to view in the ‘supporting documents’ section on this page. Some submissions have attachments associated with them, which are also in the 'supporting documents' section, labelled by the contribution ID of the relevant submission.
A summary of the submissions has been included.
In-lieu of a face-to-face public forum, community were invited to ask questions to EPA and the proponent from 20 May 2020 - 24 June 2020. These can be viewed in the 'Supporting documents' section on this page. If there are any further questions about the proposal, please email Info@wannonwater.com.au.
Wannon Water proposes installing a new inlet screening facility. The proposal also includes two new intermittently decanted extended aeration (IDEA) tanks at the site.
The existing STP treatment process begins with coarse inlet screening to remove solids and non-biodegradable materials prior to flows entering the IDEA tanks for treatment. Once treated, effluent undergoes further fine screening through a series of tertiary screens (currently Wannon Water is engaged in a project to install a 1 mm screen automated tertiary effluent screen) before being discharged directly into the Southern Ocean at Thunder Point.
In response to requests from the local community for an extension of time for submissions, EPA has decided to extend the closing date for submissions to 1 July 2020, likewise the on-line Q&A has also been extended to 24 June 2020.
Wannon Water have provided further information following recent enquiries from the public. This information is separate to the works approval documentation and can be viewed here. A fact sheet has also been provided in the 'Supporting documents' section on this page.
Following receipt of Section 22 notice response from Wannon Region Water Corporation, EPA has issued a further s22 notice. This notice seeks further information from Wannon Water and can be found in the ‘Supporting documents’ section.
EPA is waiting for a response to the Section 22 notice and the statutory clock is currently paused
EPA issued WRWC with a Notice under section 22 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 to supply further information on 26 February 2021.
On 11 June 2021, WRWC responded to EPA’s S22 Notice. You can view the response in the 'Supporting documents' section on this page.
Request for further information
An online community Conference, held on 5 August 2020, was conducted under Section 20B of the Environment Protection Act 1970. The Conference provided an opportunity for community members to raise and discuss opinions and concerns about the works approval application from Wannon Region Water Corporation. The Conference was chaired by an independent facilitator who also produced a report that documented key points raised by those attending the conference and recommendations from the independent facilitator.
To assist the Authority in assessing the application for a works approval, a response to the issues and recommendations documented in the 20B conference report is required. On 14 September 2020, EPA served a notice under Section 22 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 to Wannon Region Water Corporation requiring them to respond to relevant issues and recommendations raised in the 20B conference report.
Wannon Region Water corporation have until 5 pm, 21 September to provide this response. If the response is not provided by this time or the information provided is not deemed acceptable by EPA, the assessment 'clock' is paused until an acceptable response is received.
A copy of the notice is available in the ‘Supporting documents’ section of this page.
Noting EPA are yet to receive a reponse to the first s22 notice dated 7 Aug 2020.
Warrnambool wastewater treatment plant upgrade - 20B Community Conference
Please read the information to familiarise yourself with materials that are relevant to the online forum and the live conference. These materials will allow you to ask informed questions about the process and the application within the forum on the next tab.
Works approval process
In the 'Supporting documents' section on this page, you will also find the following documents:
- Key issues summary - based on the 83 public submissions received
- Powers table - indicates the responsible referral agency for particular issues
- Works approval flow chart - summary of the works approval process
- Decision-making process - how EPA engages with the public on works approvals
- Agenda - run sheet for the online event 5 August 2020.
Warrnambool Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade Project
Community member perspective
The views and opinions expressed in this video are those of the creators and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of EPA Victoria or Wannon Water.
The forum closed on 4 Aug 2020 at 4:00 PM.
Thank you to all who contributed to the online forum. Your questions and comments have been recorded and will be addressed on 5 August 2020 at the 20B community conference. Please register if you wish to receive a link (a day before the event) to attend.