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Romsey recycled water management

This page provides the latest updates about Romsey recycled water management.

Background

Romsey Recycled Water Plant (RWP) has been a vital community asset since the 1970s. Since then, the local population has increased steadily, and is expected to increase further over the coming years.

Population growth has meant that Romsey RWP is close to reaching its capacity for managing wastewater inflows and is finding it increasingly difficult to manage the volumes of recycled water produced through local reuse solutions.

Existing recycled water customers include the Romsey Recreation Reserve, Romsey Golf Club and local farms. We’ll continue to explore options for supplying recycled water to additional customers in the local area.

Project updates

We're committed to keeping you informed about the Romsey recycled water management plan and we will provide updates on this page as the project progresses.

Sign up to receive updates on the progress of the Romsey recycled water management plan. As soon as we add information to this page you'll get an alert from us.

An information sheet summarising the findings of an ecological survey is available - see link below in the Further Information section. The survey was completed in March 2020 by GHD on behalf of Western Water.

You can find the latest project updates in the About the project section below. Earlier project updates can be found in the Past Updates section at the bottom of the page.

We are happy to arrange meetings with interested members of the community. If you'd like to talk to us, please contact us.

About the project

Update as of 21 July 2021

Since our last update, we’ve made significant progress in our planning and investigations in relation to the recycled water management solution for Romsey. We’ve also progressed environmental and cultural heritage management planning.

We recently formed Greater Western Water on 1 July through the successful integration of Western Water and City West Water.

Prior to the integration, Western Water’s Board approved the Romsey RWP Upgrade project business case in June 2021. A concept design for the upgrade has been developed with the project set to improve the plant’s treatment capacity and increase its recycled water storage.

The upgrade to the Romsey RWP, along with other measures such as preparing additional land for irrigation, was identified as the best solution and will ensure we can continue to cater for the growing population.

We listened to concerns raised by the community over the last 18 months and the Romsey RWP upgrade project does not rely on discharge to Deep Creek.

Over the coming year, we will work with key stakeholders and engage with the community about the upgrade and other solutions at Romsey. We’ll then seek to obtain a Development License from the EPA to undertake the works. Following these steps, we’re planning to commence construction of the upgrade from mid to late 2022.

Next steps

  • Engagement activities will increase over the coming months as we provide information about the upgrade and other measures to the local community. We’ll keep local landholders, community and environmental groups informed about our plans for the Romsey plant, and continue to work closely with the EPA and other stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for the community, environment and the region.
  • We will also continue to explore and invest in long term planning and other projects to further improve our management and local reuse of recycled water

Click on the headings below to read more detailed information.

    Assessment of recycled water management options

    In early to mid-2021, Western Water identified the best solution for Romsey’s future wastewater treatment and recycled water reuse needs after detailed consideration of several options.

    This solution includes upgrading the RWP and allocating and preparing additional land for recycled water irrigation.

    Romsey RWP Upgrade

    Western Water’s Board approved the Romsey RWP upgrade project business case in June 2021. The upgrade will increase the plant’s capacity for treating wastewater with additional treatment lagoons and storage. The Romsey RWP upgrade project does not rely on discharge to Deep Creek.

    The project’s concept design includes:

    • New inlet pipe and inlet works
    • New treatment lagoons
    • Re-purposing the existing treatment lagoons as storage for recycled water
    • Upgraded pump station

    Key benefits of the upgrade include:

    • Increasing the treatment capacity
    • More storage to better manage recycled water levels across the year

    Over the past months we’ve been completing the site investigations to help inform the upgrade design

    The next steps for the project include:

    • engaging with stakeholders and community
    • obtaining the relevant permits and license
    • developing the detailed design

    Additional land for irrigation

    To manage the increasing volumes of recycled water at the RWP, the Board also approved Stage 2 of the Romsey Irrigation Upgrade project in June 2021.

    This will involve building:

    • key infrastructure at our RWP to allow more recycled water to be supplied to the irrigation site south of the plant
    • two new centre pivot irrigators
    • runoff protection around the irrigation site to ensure no excess recycled water runs off the property

    Construction will commence in late-August and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. When complete, this project will result in approximately 49 hectares of additional land being available for recycled water irrigation at the RWP site in Portingales Lane.

    Obtaining environmental offsets

    As part of the Irrigation Upgrade project, we’ll need to remove a small number of native trees. We’ve obtained the relevant permit for this and in accordance with the conditions of our approval, we are required to mitigate native vegetation losses with ‘offsets’.

    Offsets are areas of native vegetation which we ensure will not be developed through long-term protection. This ensures that there is no overall loss of native vegetation.

    We’ll be working with the Macedon Ranges Shire Council to establish a local offset site in Romsey. This has been assessed as the best environmental outcome for the local area. It will involve allocating around 3.5 hectares of vegetation offsets which we’ll fence and maintain for the future.

    We’re also developing a Vegetation Offset Management Plan and have commenced consulting with Deep Creek Landcare Group about the offsets.

    Voluntary Cultural Heritage Management Plan

    In recognition of the importance of preserving any existing cultural values of the site, we’ve committed to completing a voluntary cultural heritage management plan. We’ll work with a cultural heritage adviser and traditional owners, the Wurundjeri, to prepare the plan.

    The plan will identify measures to be taken before, during and after the construction activities in order to manage and protect Aboriginal cultural heritage in the project area.

    Long term planning

    Greater Western Water is committed to investing in the most appropriate solutions for the local region. We are facing many varying challenges affecting our service region; growth, climate change, increasing compliance requirements and the rising cost of doing business. Solutions to many of these challenges are costly.

    Our dedicated planning team are continuing their work, using the best information from State and local government sources. However, there are still areas outside our control that we need to plan for, like climate change and population growth which will lead to increases in the amount of wastewater being produced.

    We’re continuing to assess our long-term recycled water management strategy and will keep the community and stakeholders informed as this important work progresses. All major infrastructure changes have significant financial considerations and will lead to passing costs onto our customers in our future charges for services.

    We will be seeking feedback from the community before proceeding with any of these options.

    Further information

    Past updates