GIPPSLAND Water began the temporary release of untreated trade waste to the Regional Outfall Sewer on Thursday because of an operational issue with Australian Paper’s water treatment process.
Paul Clark from Gippsland Water said the release of backlogged trade waste volumes was expected to continue for only a short period before normal waste treatment processes at Maryvale Mill would resume.
“This is a very rare event,” Mr Clark said.
“Following discussions with Australian Paper about its planned production levels, 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 operational issue has been identified and is now largely rectified, 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 impact residents in the Wellington Shire who lived or travelled near the ROS.
“The odour may be more noticeable than in recent months however, it will not return to the pre-Gippsland Water Factory levels.
Contingency plans to manage odour issues should they arise have been put in place,” he said.
Craig Dunn from Australian Paper said the company was working with Gippsland Water to minimise any potential community impact from this situation and were diverting streams and lowering flows at the moment to 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, which is expected to be fully resolved by mid next week,” he said.