Decommissioning Wastewater Treatment Plants

​​​​​​When a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is to permanently stop operation (this is, be decommissioned), environmental harm on-site or off-site must be avoided before, during and after the decommissioning phase. Land uses that are allowed under the relevant zoning of the land must not be prejudiced by residual pollutants on the land.

WWTPs which can treat more than 100 kL per day of wastewater are designated "Level 2" WWTPs as defined in the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA). Permits or Environment Protection Notices usually require a Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan (DRP) to be submitted to the Director, EPA prior to decommissioning. The guidance contained in the following document provides information to help prepare a DRP.

  Guidelines - Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plans for Level 2 Wastewater Treatment Plants in Tasmania Nov 2010   (273Kb)

​For non-Level 2 WWTPs, the relevant local council should be consulted about decommissioning requirements under the local planning scheme.  The guidelines may be useful as a reference in this case.

Wastewater treatment storages classified as ‘dams’ under the Water Management Act 1999 may require a permit prior to decommissioning or for any alterations to the storage. The Water Management and Assessment Branch within the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania, can provide advice on how to obtain a 'Permit to Undertake Dam Works' which, under the Water Management Act and Regulations, is required to construct, remove or modify a dam.

Further information can be obtained from the Water Management Branch.