Wannon Water continues nurdle clean-up

28 November 2017

Wannon Water has removed more than 75 buckets of nurdles from its Warrnambool Sewage Treatment Plant after they were illegally dumped in the system nearly two weeks ago.

Managing Director Andrew Jeffers said a response team from Wannon Water is prioritising and coordinating the immediate and long-term efforts in the clean-up.

“Our operators have painstakingly and physically removed millions of nurdles from the sewage plant tanks and other infrastructure in the past week, preventing these from entering the ocean environment.

“Unfortunately thousands of the plastic beads washed up on nearby beaches before we were aware of the contamination. We applaud individuals, community and school groups and Deakin University students who have been out cleaning up, as has Wannon Water and other agencies,” Mr Jeffers said.

Wannon Water’s main priorities are to:

  • Stop any further plastic contamination into the environment
  • Clean up the contamination of nurdles and support the community efforts
  • Prevent any further plastic contamination into the sewerage system, and
  • Continue the formal investigation into the original nurdle contamination source.

Mr Jeffers said the plant was cleaned last week and returned to full operation. Employees were also on the beach collecting nurdles from the sand and providing assistance for the community efforts in Warrnambool and Port Fairy.

“From this week we have a response team actively cleaning up nurdles on various beaches on a daily basis. Last night we had 14 people out at Shelly Beach and today we’re working at Shelly Beach, Second Bay and in Port Fairy.

“This will continue for the coming weeks and will include frequent inspections to map and coordinate clean-up efforts, regular updates on the Wannon Water website, and trials of a mechanical beach cleaner and other equipment.”

Wannon Water is also proactively liaising with other agencies, including the Environment Protection Authority, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, Moyne Shire and Warrnambool City Council, seeking their support through a coordinated response.

 “The EPA has issued two notices, one regarding Wannon Water’s response at the sewage treatment plant and one regarding the clean-up activities on local beaches.

Wannon Water is working very hard to ensure our response is consistent with these notices and that we meet community expectations,” Mr Jeffers said.

Deakin University has been researching nurdles at their laboratories in Warrnambool and have reported that most seem to come from the one location, but others appear to be from a different source. Wannon Water will be liaising with Deakin University to support this research.

For more information, click here or call 1300 962 666.