Company fined following valve failure

Barwon Water has been fined $5841 by EPA Victoria for a citric acid spill at its Birregurra water treatment plant in May 2010.

Barwon Water has been fined $5841 by EPA Victoria for a citric acid spill at its Birregurra water treatment plant in May 2010.

The incident occurred after a valve on the backwash system failed to close, allowing 10,000L of drinking water to backflow into a 1500L capacity recirculation tank.

The tank was in preparation for an automatic cleaning cycle, and contained a citric acid solution. The tank overflowed, flooding containment areas and discharging into a drain just outside the plant’s boundary fenceline.

Two adjoining rural properties were impacted.

According to EPA, the citric acid could have impacted plants and aquatic life. Samples of the wastewater found pH levels outside the environmental standards for the terrain.

EPA says Barwon Water could have prevented the spill if it had controls in place to stop machinery from working in the event of human or mechanical error.