UPDATED: Emergency controlled release from Romsey Recycled Water Plant
27 October 2023
Update - 27 October 2023
The release of recycled water from the Romsey Recycled Water Plant (RWP) into Deep Creek has ended.
This controlled release was a last resort decision which has allowed us to maintain a safe storage level at the plant during the wetter months, and ensured that the risk of harm to human health and the environment were minimised as far as reasonably practicable. With warmer days forecast and the farmland surrounding the RWP now starting to dry out, we expect to commence local irrigation in the coming weeks.
We know maintaining the health of Deep Creek is important to the community and we share those values. The release has been conducted in a highly controlled manner to safeguard the health of the environment and community.
We’ve closely monitored water quality throughout the duration of the release and continue to work together with the EPA and affected property owners downstream of the Romsey RWP.
All testing results have returned Class B quality and independent water quality testing will continue until the release ends. Final water quality test results will be added to the full list of existing results published our website.
Based on the current weather outlook, we don’t expect another emergency release in the coming months unless the region experiences a heavy rainfall event.
We thank the Romsey community for your understanding as we’ve worked to maintain safe and reliable services for you while avoiding an uncontrolled spill of recycled water into the environment.
An independent laboratory is conducting regular sampling at several points in and around the Romsey Recycled Water Plant. We will update these results on our website each Tuesday for the duration of the release.
We’ve introduced a traffic light system to show if the recycled water we are releasing from the plant meets strict Class B guidelines. If at any time the recycled water does not meet Class B guidelines, we will pause the release to investigate and improve the water quality.
Update - Tuesday 25 July 2023
The emergency controlled discharge of Class B recycled water to Deep Creek has commenced.
During this release, we will conduct regular, comprehensive sampling. The results of this sampling and release details will be available on our results page.
We will continue to keep EPA Victoria and affected downstream landowners on Deep Creek updated.
Friday 14 July 2023
Greater Western Water will begin an emergency controlled release of Class B recycled water to Deep Creek from the Romsey Recycled Water Plant (RWP) in the week commencing 24 July 2023.
This is not a step we take lightly. Storage of treated recycled water at the plant is nearing its full capacity and if we do not act, we risk an uncontrolled spill of recycled water into the environment. We are working hard to avoid that.
We expect the release to last through to at least October 2023, until storages reach a sustainable level. We have chosen to do this now to take advantage of higher creek flows, which increases the dilution rate of recycled water and delivers better environmental outcomes.
We will do so in a highly controlled manner to safeguard the health of the environment and community. We will test the quality of water daily and report on the results and flow rates on our website.
We have notified EPA Victoria and are engaging directly with affected property owners downstream of the Romsey RWP.
Class B recycled water is extensively treated at the plant to be safely used for a range of irrigation purposes, like watering turf, flower and tree lots, food crops, golf courses, sporting fields, community areas and some pastures and fodder for sheep, goats, cows and horses.
The Romsey RWP storages are so full because of the large amount of rainfall in the region over spring 2022, which caused more water to flow into storages, with inflows about three times the average. This also delayed the start of the irrigation season, meaning water could not be taken out for that purpose.
The plant is also under pressure from the growing population and development across Romsey and Lancefield. More people means more wastewater to recycle. We are working to upgrade the plant to meet this growing service demand, with work expected to commence next year and be complete in 2026.
In the meantime, controlled flows of recycled water may be necessary as a last resort.
We’ve extended our community consultation on the Romsey RWP upgrade and will be holding an extra drop-in session at Romsey IGA on Sunday 23 July from 9am to 1pm.
We want to hear from the community throughout this process and address any concerns or questions.