An agreement has been reached between Coliban Water and GBM Gold that will move the Bendigo Groundwater Project forward and help protect the town from uncontrolled discharges of groundwater.

The agreement will allow Coliban Water to access GBM’s New Moon site in Eaglehawk and activate a plan for pre-treatment of groundwater, before it is piped to the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant in Epsom.

This transitional solution will address the groundwater issue for up to five years while a permanent solution is developed.

“The agreement between Coliban Water and GBM Gold Ltd is a welcome step forward to make sure Bendigo and surrounding communities are free from the risks of groundwater,” Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said.

A selective tender process is currently underway for the water treatment works, and an advertised tender process for the installation of a pipeline and the design and construction of a brine storage lagoon in Epsom will begin shortly.

“The Bendigo community can have confidence that the Bendigo Groundwater Project is on track to fix the city’s groundwater problem,” Victorian Minister for Water Lisa Neville said.

Naturally occurring groundwater within Bendigo’s network of disused and abandoned mines has been recovering to natural levels since mining ceased in 2011.

The groundwater has elevated levels of salinity, arsenic, other heavy metals and hydrogen sulphide gas, and is being carefully managed but does not pose an immediate risk to the environment or community.

The water will be treated to remove contaminants and, if possible, reused or returned to the environment.

Victorian Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said, “We’re working with the local community to find a solution to protect one of Victoria’s great regional cities.”

The Labor Government has put $27.4 million towards fixing the groundwater issue and ensure Bendigo’s popular Central Deborah tourist mine can keep operating.

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