The Government is improving the liveability of Bendigo and surrounding areas by mitigating a significant environmental and economic risk to one of Victoria's leading regional cities, posed by arsenic rich groundwater recovering in historic mine voids beneath Bendigo. 

Without management, this groundwater will ultimately discharge to the environment at several points across Bendigo. This water is high in salinity and arsenic and is odorous. If not controlled, the recovering groundwater will also impact local infrastructure. 

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is working with local stakeholders and community representatives to develop solutions to manage the groundwater from Bendigo’s historic mines which commenced with an immediate response in 2015 and is now progressing investigations into a long term solution which aims to provide an additional source of water for beneficial use.

Total EC3 investment to date: $21.82 m

2015-16 expenditure: $5.88 m
2016-17 expenditure: $7.76 m
2017-18 expenditure: $5.36 m
2018-19 expenditure: $2.82 m


This project is continuing to meet its objectives for the immediate, interim and long-term groundwater management options, through the following actions: 

Immediate solution

The immediate solution concluded with the commencement of Interim Solution operations in August 2017. 

Interim option (5 years)

The interim option to manage groundwater commenced operation in August 2017. The solution consists of treating the groundwater at a refurbished treatment plant, to remove arsenic and heavy metals, followed by reverse osmosis to remove salt. The treated water is discharged to the Bendigo Creek or re-used, the brine (salty wastes) are sent to an evaporation lagoon at Coliban Waters Epsom Water Reclamation Plant. Sludge wastes, containing the heavy metals, are sent to prescribed waste landfill. Coliban Water are operating the interim option on behalf of the State Government. 

This solution manages the volume of water pumped from the Central Deborah Gold Mine tourist attraction and will operate until 30 June 2021. 

Long-term solution

DELWP is continuing to work with an established Community Reference Group as well as State and Local Government Advisory Group, to identify, develop and implement a long-term solution for this longstanding issue.

Page last updated: 22/10/19