We rely on the environment to provide excellent quality drinking water and have a role in ensuring its ongoing health – protecting this precious resource.
We recognise we can have an impact on the health of the environment through the delivery of our services.
The three areas where we have the biggest impact and best opportunity to make a significant difference are greenhouse gas emissions, discharges to waterways and the quantity of water that we take from the environment.
A fundamental priority is to ensure that our water and wastewater services are resilient to climate change, drought and population growth.
Greenhouse gas emissions
We are committed to being greenhouse gas neutral, at the lowest community cost. To date we have used offsets generated by our showerhead exchange program.
Going forward, we have set ourselves a target of being energy neutral by 2030 – generating as much energy as we consume. Our Waste to Energy project will contribute significantly to this, and we are exploring the business cases for other options.
Waste to Energy
Our Waste to Energy facility provides an environmentally friendly disposal solution for commercial organic waste – diverting it from landfill. It sits next to an existing sewage treatment plant in Wollert and generates enough biogas to run both sites with surplus energy being exported to the electricity grid.
The site has the capacity to process up to 33,000 tonnes of organic waste each year, or approximately 100 tonnes per day, offering an affordable alternative to organic waste disposal at landfill.
We impact on our waterways from the water we take from the environment, and the nutrients and other pollutants that are discharged back to the waterways, from our treatment plant discharges and from our sewers during storm events. Our aim is to have no net impact on our waterways.
Water from the environment
We manage our activities to ensure that environmental flows are never compromised and that nature receives adequate water to sustain healthy ecosystems. This includes having a robust strategy for managing our water supply-demand balance, engage within the community on responsible water use, planning for future growth and maximising the integrity of our assets.
Discharges to waterways
We are focused on providing modern sanitation services to properties with poorly performing septic tanks that cause pollution in our local waterways. Many homes in Melbourne were built before sewerage infrastructure was available. As a result, more than 13,000 homes in the northern and eastern suburbs use septic tank systems to manage their domestic wastewater. These systems do not meet current environmental standards and present a potential risk to public health and local waterways. Our ongoing Community Sewerage Program provides sewerage servicing solutions to these areas.
We have been partnering with Melbourne Water, the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning and local councils to develop an outcomes-based approach for waterways investment. This approach aims to identify the outcomes that we are trying to achieve (including waterway health, amenity and biodiversity) and then to determine which investments are required to deliver them at the lowest cost to the community.