The groundwater has elevated levels of salt, arsenic, other heavy metals and hydrogen sulphide (rotten egg) gas. It is currently being carefully managed and does not pose an immediate risk to the environment or community.
DELWP has been working with community, stakeholders and local agencies, including the City of Greater Bendigo and Coliban Water to identify transitional and long-term solutions for managing groundwater from Bendigo's mines.
Bendigo Groundwater Project
The Victorian Government is providing a total funding commitment of $27.4 million.
This includes a $23.2 million funded agreement with Coliban Water to protect Bendigo and surrounding areas from groundwater.
No water will be pumped to the Woodvale evaporation ponds.
Currently groundwater from the Central Deborah tourist mine is being pumped to the New Chum line of workings via the Eureka shaft.
These arrangements ensure that deep levels of the popular Central Deborah Mine tourist attraction are not inundated and tours down to level nine can continue to operate while the transitional solution is being implemented.
DELWP is overseeing the transitional solution of the Bendigo Groundwater Project in partnership with Coliban Water who is managing the design, construction and operation of this solution.
The transitional solution will involve construction of a pipeline from New Moon to Coliban Water's Water Reclamation Plant at Epsom. The water will be treated and potentially re-used in the future.
This solution will protect Bendigo city and surrounding districts from uncontrolled discharges of groundwater and ensure the groundwater does not impact on the viability of the Central Deborah Tourist Goldmine.
The transitional solution is based on the preferred option recommended by the Bendigo Groundwater Community Reference Group and endorsed by the State and Local Government Advisory Group.
The transitional solution will be in place by the middle of 2017 and manage the rising groundwater for the next three to five years, allowing time to develop and implement a long term solution.
DELWP is working with the Community Reference Group and State and Local Government Advisory Group to develop a shortlist of long-term options.
This work will continue over the next three to five years and is supported by our work to put in place the transitional solution.
DELWP will continue working with both groups during the implementation of the transitional solution to determine a sustainable option.
In February and June 2015 DELWP held community information sessions with the Bendigo and Woodvale community, seeking feedback on the options outlined in the Bendigo Groundwater Report to the broader Bendigo community.
The feedback captured from both community information sessions was considered by two stakeholder groups, the Community Reference Group and the State and Local Government Advisory Group.
As we work towards finding the best solution for the long term further consultation will be held providing opportunities for community and other stakeholders to consider options for the long term.