For some time the industry has been negotiating with the Environmental regulator on Environmentally Relevant Activity (ERA) 63(3) in the Environmental Protection Regulations (EP Regs 2008) which covers the operation of large sewage pumping stations (see e Flash #159, 5 April 2012). The ERA applies to stations with a design capacity exceeding 40kL per hour (11L/s) unless the pump is part of a sewage treatment plant. The outcome of the negotiations was a more favourable set of conditions for local governments that still protect environmental values.
A key aspect was the development of a Code of Environmental Compliance (log in to download at www.qldwater.com.au/sewage-pumping-stations) which would make large (> 40 kL/hr ) pumping stations self-assessable and not require a Development Approval if all standard conditions are met. This Code was endorsed by Minister Powell (Environment and Heritage Protection) last week. However, the Code will not commence until the necessary amendments are made to the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 and this is expected to
It is important to note when the CoEC commences, all large pumping stations will become subject to its standard conditions. That is, regardless of age or whether a pumping station has an existing DA or not, it will need to meet the standard conditions within one year. Given there are estimated to be more than 1000 large (> 40 kL/hr) pumping stations across the State it was important that the industry was confident that the new standard conditions were achievable for both new and existing stations for dry weather and emergency wet-weather overflows.
Extensive consultation was undertaken between the industry and the Department on this issue and the resulting document represents a workable compromise with the possibility for future review. Some members still have strong concerns with the implementation of the new code in their area and these issues are being collated for the next round of negotiations with the Regulator. If you wish to raise further issues, please contact Rob Fearon (email@example.com or 0428 300 208).