The Castlemaine Water Reclamation Plant has been treating the wastewater from sinks, toilets and drains across Castlemaine and surrounding towns for close to 100 years.
Funded by the customers it serves, it remains a critical piece of infrastructure for our community's health and supports our continued growth and success.
But climate change, ageing infrastructure and a growing population mean we are acting now to ensure our sewerage infrastructure can meet community needs now and into the future.
About the Castlemaine Water Reclamation Plant
About the upgrades
Planned upgrades to the Castlemaine Water Reclamation Plant will be carried out in stages over five years, and will include the construction of:
- A new Water Reclamation Facility
- A new Biosolids Handling Treatment Facility
The upgrades will ensure the Plant can support forecast population growth.
We are also consulting key stakeholders in the region, including local Council, state and federal government representatives, and others to ensure the upgrades will support economic growth and regional development plans and key employers, including Don KR Castlemaine, the Loddon Prison Precinct and Castlemaine Health.
All upgrades will be underpinned by our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint as we target net zero emissions by 2030, and to deliver more recycled water and biosolids for community and environmental benefit.
- Increased treatment capacity and more resilient wastewater services, designed for our growing population and uncertain environmental conditions
- Reduced likelihood of odour and noise emitted from the plant
- Increased biosolids and recycled water available for community use
- Increased environmental water flows back into Campbells Creek
- In conjunction with 'Friends of Campbells Creek' an enhanced environmental space for native flora, fauna and the community
- Reduced emissions and environmental impacts
Timing for the upgrades
Upgrades will be completed in stages over a five year period.
Starting in mid 2023, we are currently working through the 'Concepts and approvals' stage and expect to progress to 'Planning and design' in mid 2024.
Concept and approvals
Our focus is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the existing site conditions through investigations and engagement.
With our partners we will be undertaking assessments of key factors that will help guide us through this concept stage including:
- Site assessments: existing infrastructure, topography, geology.
- Environmental assessments: noise, water, biodiversity and habitat considerations.
- Cultural and community assessments: key stakeholder engagement, local business, government.
The 'concept and approval' stage is now underway and we expect to progress to the 'planning and development' stage in mid-2024.
We will engage with a small number of neighbours surrounding the Castlemaine Water Reclamation Plant to undertake some odour and noise level testing. This will help us to understand current performance levels and ensure that future upgrades further reduce impacts felt offsite by our neighbours and the broader community.
Planning and design
Commence mid 2024
We will provide additional detail when available.
Commence mid 2025
We will provide additional detail when available.
From 'waste' to 'great' for community benefit
One upon a time, the water washed or flushed down Australia's drains and toilets was considered 'wastewater'.
But in a changing and drying climate, improving how we reclaim and reuse the by-products of our water use is important for future water security.
At Coliban Water, we haven't just named our wastewater plants Water Reclamation Plants, we've committed to embedding sustainable practices in every part of our business.
At the Castlemaine Water Reclamation Plant, the production of recycled water and biosolids help us contribute to a circular economy and deliver benefits to our customers, communities and the environment.
Biosolids are the organic by-product of the sewage treatment process.
Rich in nutrients and similar to the look and smell of soil once dried, they can be applied to maintain productive soils, boost crop growth, and fertilise parks and gardens.
We're looking to boost the beneficial production of biosolids to return nutrients and carbon to local soils, reducing the need for additional fertilisation.
Biosolids are managed and reused in accordance with regulatory guidelines set out by the EPA.
You'll see recycled water from the Castlemaine Water Reclamation Plant at work across the region, including at the Castlemaine Golf Club.
It is also released into Campbells Creek, boosting environmental flows that contribute to the health and biodiversity of this local waterway.
Lagoons and treatment ponds at the Plant provides a local habitat for thousands of birds, many of local and international conservation significance.
While reclaimed water returned to Campbells Creek improves the health of this natural waterway.
We're proud of our partnership with the Friends of Campbells Creek and continue to support their efforts to return more native species, including the Platypus, to a seven-kilometre long section of the creek.