Why is this project important?
The Hunter River Estuary is home to internationally significant wetlands and provides a home for many native plants and animals. It’s also the lifeblood of many small, medium and large companies, and provides a wonderful recreation place for the community. Many people run, walk their dog, play and picnic along the banks, or go swimming, kayaking, boating and skiing in the river.
Why are you developing a masterplan?
The Hunter River Estuary Wastewater Masterplan will guide how wastewater from five of our major wastewater treatment plants that release water into the estuary is managed into the future. We'll be making a significant investment in these five treatment plants over the next 10-15 years. We want to ensure this investment results in a high-value outcome for both the estuary and our community.
Many factors will determine how healthy the river system is in the future. More housing developments create more stormwater run-off from roads and gutters which flow into the river. Farming, agriculture and industry also affect river health, as do some recreational activities. Our growing population and business community produces more wastewater.
Although the treatment plants are only one of many factors affecting river health, we are taking a leadership role in developing a masterplan which will show how we will invest money over the coming decades to get the best outcome for our community and the health of the river estuary.
Will there be changes to how wastewater is managed in the future?
Both the water and the nutrients in the water released from our treatment plants are precious resources. In the future it's likely that our treatment plants will evolve from our current process of treating and releasing wastewater. As our region grows and we need more of both the water and nutrients, it's likely our treatment plants will play a valuable role in recovering and re-using these resources.