28 March - Odour update

28 March 2024

We’re aware that some community members southwest of our Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant have recently experienced odour – and we’re sorry.

We carry out routine odour monitoring and we’re currently tracking the cause and reach of current odour reports. We encourage you to call us on 1300 363 200 to report odour. The more that we receive these reports, the more we can build a picture of the areas of our plant which need the most urgent attention.

What’s causing the odour?

Currently, 22 million litres (the equivalent of 9 Olympic swimming pools) of wastewater enters the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant each day, from across Bendigo and the surrounding area.

Treating wastewater at our plant is a complex and multi-step process that sees incoming wastewater turned into high quality recycled water, and biosolids for agricultural reuse.

Several of the treatment stages are naturally odour-generating. These stages include: the inlet works where wastewater arrives at the plant; the Autothermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion system (ATADs) which turns wastewater sludge into biosolids; the centrifuge building where the remaining moisture in the biosolids is removed; and the brine lagoon which stores concentrated brine, that is separated during the production of Class A recycled water.

How do we manage odour onsite?

From time-to-time odours can increase if equipment breaks down or a part of the process is taken offline for maintenance. Additionally, odours can increase when the weather is hot, before it rains or when the wind direction changes. We manage our plant in line with our Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) operating licence.

This includes a process to minimise odour emissions. We have two biofilters onsite which are crucial to our odour management process. These biofilters house gases from the inlet works and ATADs. Biofilters have a three-year lifespan. Our current biofilters will be replaced later this year.

Immediate works to minimise odours:

As we further understand the odour impacting the community, we will adjust our works to ensure odour is properly managed.

Over the next six months:

​Our long-term plans for the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant

With the Bendigo population expected to grow 30% by 2036, we’re planning a once-in-a-generation upgrade to the plant to ensure it can continue to support community health, and the city’s future growth and success, while meeting customer expectations around odour management. Read more about the project at Bendigo WRP Upgrade Project | Connect Coliban

We’ll provide a further update on Friday 5 April 2024.