AUTHORITIES will host a virtual community conference next week to hear views on a multi-million dollar upgrade to the Warrnambool Sewage Treatment Plant.
The Environmental Protection Authority is yet to grant an approval for the upgrade, with early feedback showing a majority opposed to the $40 million expansion following a community campaign.
Wannon Water says the project is needed because the plant is "operating at the limit of its treatment capacity".
But campaigners take issue the plant's capacity would double without major technology upgrades that would improve treated water quality before it reaches the ocean.
The EPA received 65 submissions against the proposal, 13 supportive but subject to conditions and none in support of the proposal.
An issues paper the authority prepared shows 39 respondents were concerned about "risks to human health" with some saying fishing, diving, snorkelling and rock pooling could expose people to "effluent both inside and outside the mixing zone".
Thirty-six respondents said the outfall was the "wrong solution" and there should be an option to re-use the water.
"I am not comfortable with the disposal of only partially treated waste being channelled into the sea. I think that disposal should be land-based and create useable by-products," one respondent said.
Other responses called for a "rethink" of the project, with five asking for Tertiary A+ water treatment, something Wannon Water has flagged would come at significant cost.
Wannon Water managing director Andrew Jeffers has previously saidthe $40 million proposal is a "first step" in a long-term plan that "will enable future improvements at the site, such as enhanced nutrient removal, tertiary treatment and/or the production of recycled water when the timing is right".
An EPA spokesman said the live online event would involve listening to community concern, explaining the works approval application, the assessment process and its current status, and discuss ideas about possible conditions if the works approval was issued.
The live online event is 7pm Wednesday, August 5.
More information and registration details are at: https://engage.vic.gov.au/epa-works-approvals/wannon-water
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