Holy shi*! Why is brown gunk being pumped into our ocean?

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Carol Altmann – The Terrier

Dirty dumps: isn’t it incredible to think that in 2020 we still have waves of brown, creamy, sewage water turning up at Thunder Point from the Wannon Water treatment plant?

The video above, captured by Good Will Nurdle Hunting, was taken from above the outfall pipe off Shelly Beach last Saturday, May 30.

Another gorgeous brown tide was also crashing onto the rocks on Tuesday 26 May.

It also happened on 17 March, which means there have been at least three such “dirty dumps” into the ocean in the past three months.

The reason is that the Wannon Water plant is full to the gills.

It can’t take much more of our gunk – most of which comes from three main industries – and the system is failing more than it should.

The good news – if you could call it that – is that, according to Wannon Water GM Service Delivery Ian Bail, these brown waves haven’t included raw sewage. (ie. We won’t see a cameo appearance of our personal contributions.)

The other good news is that we have a chance to put things right.

Yuk: The brown treated sewage water off Thunder Point on May 30, having been pumped into the from the Wannon Water treatment plant. Image: Good Will Nurdle Hunting.

The EPA is asking for public feedback on a $40 million upgrade of the treatment plant that will double its capacity – 30 million litres of waste water a day.

Hooray, I thought, we will soon have the best treatment plant possible.


The $40m upgrade will see more of the same technology that is used now.

For the next 20 years we will continue to have a “secondary” treatment system, and not a “tertiary” treatment system.

We will remain stuck in Year 10 at WooBoo High while other towns along our coastline have long moved on to Melbourne University.

How does a “Year 10 system” (as I like to call it) that still shoots shite into the ocean fit with our claim to be a clean, green, cosmopolitan, hydrogen-fuelled-FOGO-climate-change-emergency-aware Warrnambool?

It makes a mockery of that claim.

We can’t just keep saying we want to change the way we do things: we have to actually CHANGE.

But there is a problem.

The cut-off date for us to have a say via the EPA about this treatment plant upgrade is 17 June.

The EPA told me today that this deadline had already been extended by a week because of C19.

A week is not long enough. We need more time.

I don’t know about you, but I still don’t know what day it is and I haven’t been home schooling kids while trying to work, cook, clean the house and keep up with the rates notices.

We need more time to make sure we have our say and to get this absolutely right – to demand more for our coastline – and I hope the EPA agrees.

[You can find more detail on the EPA consultation here.]