GIPPSLAND Water will temporarily release untreated trade waste to the Regional Outfall System from today (Friday) while Australian Paper restores normal operations following its annual maintenance shut.
Gippsland Water customer service and communications general manager Paul Clark said the release of backlogged trade waste volumes would be completed as soon as possible.
“This is a rare event,” he said.
“Following discussions with Australian Paper about planned maintenance works at the mill, it became clear that this short release is needed to restore standard treatment processes between Gippsland Water Factory and Australian Paper.
“Gippsland Water and Australian Paper have been working hard over recent days to ensure the situation is quickly rectified.
“The maintenance work at the mill is now largely complete, with trade waste product returning to within normal limits.”
Mr Clark said there was a chance the unscheduled release of untreated trade wastewater could briefly affect residents in the Wellington Shire who lived or travelled near the Regional Outfall System.
“There may be a short term impact on odour noticeable from the system, however this will not return to pre-Gippsland Water Factory levels. Contingency plans to manage odour issues should they arise have been put in place,” he said.
Australian Paper communications and sustainability general manager Craig Dunn said the company was "working closely with Gippsland Water to minimise any potential community impact and recover the situation as quickly as possible".
Mr Clark said the Gippsland Water Factory would continue to treat domestic waste during the release period and trade waste would be treated at Dutson Downs.
“Gippsland Water appreciates the community’s patience and understanding as we work to rectify this situation in the next few weeks,” he said.