The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposed relocation of the outfall of the Carrick Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).
The WWTP, which treats sewage from the Carrick and Hadspen areas, presently discharges treated effluent into the Liffey River. TasWater proposed to relocate the outfall to the Meander River, which can provide better dilution of effluent because of its higher flow rates.
The Chair of the EPA Board, Warren Jones, said that the Board concluded the proposed relocation could be developed and 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 the Meander Valley Council," Mr Jones said.
"Various environmental issues were considered by the Board in its assessment, particularly the need to ensure that water quality impacts on the Meander River would not vary significantly from present impacts, and that downstream users of river water would not be adversely affected," said Mr Jones.
Mr Jones noted that the relocation of the outfall is not considered as the long term solution to the management of sewage from Carrick.
"While the relocation of the outfall will result in a net environmental benefit and should enable more of the treated effluent to be re-used, the EPA would like to see the level of treatment improved and a full re-use scheme put in place," he said.
No representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was referred to the Board in January 2015. Public consultation was open for a 32 day period commencing 7 February 2015.
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 Meander Valley 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