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EPA considers proposal for upgrade of sewage treatment at Blackmans Bay

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed upgrade to the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) off Tinderbox Road, Blackmans Bay in the Kingborough municipality.

The development is planned to increase the capacity of the Blackmans Bay STP from 4.125ML/d to 8.5ML/d and is expected to improve overall effluent treatment. It is part of a broader strategy to close the plants at Electrona and Margate in order to reduce the discharge of poorly treated effluent in North West Bay which is an environmental plus. The upgrade includes the conversion of the existing activated sludge system at Blackmans Bay to a modern batch reactor system that produces cleaner effluent and can remove nutrients.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Mr Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the proposed development could be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. The EPA requires these conditions to be included in any permit subsequently granted by Kingborough Council.

"Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly water quality, odour, noise and biodiversity," Mr Jones said.

"Emission limits for the upgraded STP have been set by the EPA based on Accepted Modern Technology and site specific conditions, demonstrated through current monitoring data," he said.

"Noise and odour modelling showed that impacts on sensitive receptors are unlikely under normal operating conditions.

"Emission limits for noise have been set along with restrictions on operating hours for construction," he said.

"An odour management condition has also been imposed and an odour survey will be required post commencement of the upgraded STP to confirm it is operating in accordance with modelled emission rates," said Mr Jones.

Six representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in October 2016. The environmental issues raised in these representations were noise from construction and odour emissions. Public consultation was open for a 30-day period commencing 5 November 2016.

The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System (EMPCS) established by the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994 (EMPCA).

The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of EMPCA, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.

The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of EMPCA.

The Board’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to the Kingborough Council, for review of planning issues prior to making a decision as to whether a permit is to be granted.

The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed on the EPA website at www.epa.tas.gov.au/assessment/completed-assessment