EPA considers proposal for Macquarie Point Sewage Pumping Station

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded its assessment of a proposal by the Tasmanian Water & Sewerage Corporation Pty Ltd (TasWater) for the Macquarie Point Sewage Pumping Station and Emergency Storage in Hobart.

This proposal is part of a larger TasWater project to close the Macquarie Point Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).  The proposal is to construct and operate a new sewage pumping station at Macquarie Point to transfer all sewage flows currently directed to the Macquarie Point WWTP, to an upgraded Selfs Point WWTP. This project is required for the Macquarie Point Development Corporation (MPDC) to progress the State Government's redevelopment of the Macquarie Point site, and by facilitating improved treatment of sewage, will also contribute to improved water quality in the River Derwent.

The Chair of the EPA Board, Andrew Paul, said that the Board concluded the proposed development can be managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions. These conditions are included in an Environment Protection Notice (EPN) served by the Director EPA to TasWater.

“Various environmental issues were considered in the assessment, particularly potential disturbance of contaminated soil and groundwater during the construction phase of the project, the potential for nuisance odour from operation of the pump station under future use scenarios of the broader redevelopment area, and water quality impacts from the discharge of untreated sewage during extreme wet weather events to the River Derwent." Andrew Paul said.

“The environmental impact statement (EIS) summarises historical site use and information from previous site environmental investigation reports completed for the MPDC to provide an understanding of potential contaminants of concern on the site. A conceptual site model also gives an understanding of the potential risk pathways and describes appropriate mitigation measures.

The EPN requires a construction environmental management plan to be developed and approved before construction starts. This will include measures that must be implemented around managing wastes, including contaminated soil, and sediment and erosion control.

The proposed design includes measures to treat and disperse odour through a biofilter and 12 m stack. Modelling in the EIS indicates that under normal conditions odour should not be detectable. The EPN conditions require odour emissions to be controlled, for the model conclusions to be validated and if necessary, for further odour treatment to be installed to prevent environmental nuisance.

Untreated sewage discharges will be infrequent, at an average of once per year and only during significant wet weather events. The EPN conditions authorise these overflows and require collection of overflow monitoring data to determine if the maximum discharge frequency requirements are being met.

Public consultation was open for 28 days from 18 November 2023. No representations were received in relation to the proposal. 

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, to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives and, in particular, to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania.

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

The environmental assessment report, including the environmental conditions, has been issued to the proponent.

This decision and all assessment documents can be viewed at TasWa​ter, Macquarie Point Sewage Pumping Station​.

Published on: 15/02/2024