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Emission Limit Guidelines for Sewage Treatment Plants

The Emission Limit Guidelines for Sewage Treatment Plants that Discharge Pollutants in Fresh and Marine Waters (ELG) June 2001 provides a standardised approach to developing discharge requirements for wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) that are relatively small, do not discharge into pristine environments and can achieve acceptable levels of dilution in the receiving environment. Download a copy of the ELG.

The underpinning principle of the ELG is that contemporary technologies can reliably deliver acceptable standards of effluent quality both economically and practically. All WWTPs to which the ELG applies must achieve the water quality standards in the effluent within reasonable time frames.

The ELG applies to WWTPs in circumstances that include the following:

  • Effluent discharge is into fresh or marine waters with wastewater flows of less that 500kL/day. This may be the case where sustainable full reuse is not feasible or only partial reuse can be achieved.
  • The receiving water's lowest seasonal median flow offers a dilution factor of at least 80.
  • The discharge environment is not a pristine environment or a lake or wetland.

Based on these criteria, the ELG applies to nearly half of the Level 2 WWTPs in Tasmania and all Level 1 WWTPs that discharge to waterways. The advice of the EPA must be sought where the use of the ELG is not considered appropriate.

The ELG for WWTPs was developed by EPA as a requirement of the State Policy on Water Quality Management 1997 (SPWQM).

EPA has also developed Emission Limit Guidelines for other activities, including Fruit and Vegetable Processing Activities. The SPWQM requires that regulatory authorities set discharge limits in accordance with those guidelines for every relevant activity. 

Wastewater Management Section
134 Macquarie Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 03 6165 4599  Fax: 03 6173 0254
Email: EnvironmentEnquiries@environment.tas.gov.au