AquaSure has pledged to deliver, operate and maintain the most technically advanced, environmentally sensitive and energy efficient desalination facility in Australia, and is committed to working openly and collaboratively with key stakeholders to ensure the project’s environmental performance requirements are achieved.
The VDP was put through the highest levels of environmental assessment available under Commonwealth and Victorian laws. An Environment Effects Statement (EES) undertaken at the Project’s inception examined the potential impact of and mitigation measures for building and operating the plant’s components.
An Environmental Management Framework was established for the plant, marine structures, pipeline and power supply. It includes 221 strict environmental performance requirements across 38 areas, from wetlands and waterways to air quality and visual amenity, with which the plant must comply.
This framework guided the development of the Environmental Policy, Environmental Management System, EMP - Environmental Risk Register , EMP - Environmental Monitoring Schedule , EMP - Environmental Management Plan and EMP - Environmental Incident Response Plan for all phases of the project.
The EMPs identify the key environmental issues across the facility and provide strategies for managing them effectively. They also define the legal requirements and the required regulatory permits and licences. The EMPs are implemented by a specialist team supported by environmental personnel based at the desalination plant.
AquaSure has an environmental management representative (EMR) who serves as the environmental leader for the VDP and ensures that all work is carried out in compliance with the EMS and EMPs.
An Independent Reviewer and Environmental Auditor (IREA) was appointed at the beginning of the project to assist in ensuring compliance with the numerous technical and environmental requirements. The IREA will continue in this role for the duration of the contract term.
The VDP team also works closely with a range of government stakeholders including the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Melbourne Water, South Gippsland Water, South East Water, local councils and catchment management authorities, to ensure that environmental management controls and the EMPs are implemented in an effective manner at all times.
For further information take a look at the Marine Environment Management Q&A fact sheet