18th January 2023
The TasWater waste treatment plant at Macquarie Point plant has been regularly in breach of its EPA commitments and leaking chemicals into the Derwent Estuary creating a “high risk” of toxicity. This is entirely unacceptable. It is also unacceptable that the public only know about these breaches through a rights to information (RTI) document. We need more transparency about what is going into our public waterways.
There has been talk of moving the Macquarie point treatment plant further up the Derwent to Self’s Point where the infrastuctrure is more modern. But the ongoing arguments over who will pay for the move and whether it is happening or not, has resulted delays which is now putting the health of the Derwent Estuary at risk. To get to the point of there being a “high risk” of toxicity is really shocking and very worrying for the marine life that live in the Derwent, and the residents who use the waters.
The Derwent is facing creasing pressures from all angles including waste from salmon flow-through hatcheries, agricultural run-off, industry out-fall and proposed irrigation schemes. It is one of Hobart’s greatest assets and home to the critically endangered Spotted handfish. The Derwent is also a major water source for Hobart and must not be treated like a sewer.
Thanks to the work of the Derwent Estuary Program, the health of the Derwent has increased significantly in recent years. But to see that our very own state owned enterprise TasWater has allowed environmental breaches to happen is extremely disappointing and concerning. A solution must be found immediately. This could be an upgrade to the current facilities at Macquarie Point or could be moving the facility to Self’s Point further up the Derwent. Whatever the solution is, the decision needs to be made soon and any disagreements over who pays for what must be resolved to avoid any further delays that endanger the health of the Derwent Estuary.