The discharge of treated wastewater into the Murray River has been halted pending an Environmental Protection Agency Victoria investigation into whether licensing conditions have been exceeded.RANDALL JOHNSTON November 21, 2012 6:00am
The discharge of treated wastewater into the Murray River has been halted pending an Environmental Protection Agency Victoria investigation into whether licensing conditions have been exceeded.
Cobram’s Murray Goulburn plant had consent to pump treated wastewater directly into the Murray River at Dead Bend Track from August 30 until December 28.
But EPA Victoria has ordered the plant cut the water release and is investigating a potential breach of the conditions under which the permission was granted.
Murray Goulburn normally applies this discharge to paddocks for irrigation purposes.
EPA Victoria media spokeswoman Lauren Wall said there were stringent monitoring requirements on any discharge approval, and they were not issued lightly.
‘‘The investigation we are doing will determine the level of compliance and impact on the environment,’’ Ms Wall said.
‘‘In terms of how we will enforce, we have a compliance and enforcement policy which articulates EPA’s approach, method and priorities for ensuring compliance with our Act.
‘‘EPA was satisfied that higher than usual rainfalls created a significant situation that required permission for emergency discharge in August 2012.’’
EPA Victoria requires Murray Goulburn to monitor and sample waterways and report back.
‘‘Companies with EPA monitoring requirements are required to use an independent, National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory to take and test the samples,’’ Ms Wall said.
‘‘If the results provided by a business are found to be outside the parameters specified by a site licence or regulation, EPA will undertake its own sampling and testing and investigate further.’’
They must conduct daily visual inspections of the discharge and the receiving waters below and above the discharge point.
Murray Goulburn spokeswoman Kim Lovely said the wastewater was treated through various processes at the plant, including in large treatment lagoons and then used for agricultural irrigation.
But Ms Lovely said flooding this year had put pressure on the system.
‘‘We have ceased the authorised discharge while we work with the EPA to assist with their investigation and address community concerns,’’ she said.
Murray Goulburn is working with EPA to address this issue.
‘‘Murray Goulburn takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and if the current authorised discharges are of concern to the community or EPA, we will naturally review what we are doing and seek to do it in a way that addresses (these) concerns,’’ Ms Lovely said.
Cobram resident Peter Jovic said he was disgusted when he found the wastewater release last week.
‘‘I can’t believe they got consent to do it in the first place — under any conditions,’’ Mr Jovic said.
‘‘People swim and fish in there all the time.
‘‘I just can’t see why we would treat our waterways that are crucial to tourism and recreation with such disrespect — it’s just disgusting.’’
One person has died following a fatal car accident at the intersection of Ford and Grahamvale Rds this morning.
UPDATE: NSW Police have confirmed the body of a Warrnambool woman, 61, who went missing in the Murray River yesterday has been found.
Mark Pacitti was in Tatura on Tuesday to talk about his book Dancing With The Black Dog, which addresses his personal issue with depression.
A Maryborough truck driver who stole a Royal Children's Hospital charity tin at an Echuca service station has received a wholly suspended jail sentence.
The district's handymen will soon have a new space in which to work and socialise.
A woman was killed in a single-vehicle crash at Wyuna yesterday morning.
Canoe polo only made its debut on Lake Nagambie at the weekend - but it could be the venue for the sport's biggest event in 2018.
A man was due to appear in court today of numerous charges, including firing a firearm in a public place.
Police are investigating an accident at Burramboot on the Heathcote-Rochester Rd in which four people were killed last night.
Huge crowds turn out at Cobram for thrills and spills of novel motorsport.
Teenager Rowan Smith took his amateur record to 1-1 after a unanimous points decision on Saturday night.
The fruit industry is becoming weary of being told of huge opportunities in markets in Asia by Australian governments which cannot negotiate free trade agreements to get access.
The plight of Australian prisoners of war will be commemorated next week at a special screening of the powerful film The Railway Man.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.