Minister for Water Lisa Neville has approved a landmark agreement to protect Bendigo and surrounding areas from rising groundwater.
The $23.2 million funding agreement between the Andrews Labor Government and Coliban Water will see a three to five year transitional solution to protect Bendigo city and Central Deborah gold mine from uncontrolled discharges of groundwater.
It will involve the construction of a pipeline from New Moon to Coliban Water’s Epsom Water Reclamation Plant and proposed upgraded treatment facilities.
The water will be treated to remove arsenic, rotten egg gas, other metals and salt. It’s proposed that clean water will be re-used or returned to the environment.
The plan is based on a preferred option recommended by the Bendigo Groundwater Community Reference Group and endorsed by the State and Local Government Advisory Group.
A tender process will be undertaken for the design, construction and operation of the solution which will generate economic activity in the region.
Naturally occurring groundwater within Bendigo’s network of disused and abandoned mines has been recovering to natural levels since mining ceased.
While the groundwater has elevated levels of salinity, arsenic, other heavy metals and hydrogen sulphide gas, it’s being carefully managed and does not pose an immediate risk to the environment or community.
The Labor Government is getting on with addressing Bendigo’s groundwater problem, putting $27.4 million towards the Bendigo Groundwater Project.
Quote attributable to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
“We are getting on with finding a permanent solution to rising groundwater and ensuring Bendigo remains a vibrant and thriving regional city.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan
“This plan will protect our beautiful city from uncontrolled discharges of groundwater and keep the popular Central Deborah tourist mine operating.”
Quote attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards
“This is a vital project to make sure Bendigo and surrounding communities are free from the risks of groundwater today and for many years to come.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020