Environmental Safeguards

The Office Environment and Heritage (OEH) issues licences under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (1997) for Hunter Water’s wastewater pipe network and treatment systems.

The licences stipulate both quality and quantity conditions for discharge from each wastewater treatment works and are reviewed every three years under the legislation. The licences also specify operational controls and reporting for the pipe network and pump stations.

During the 1990s Hunter Water upgraded its major coastal wastewater treatment facilities and, as a joint venture with the State Government, spent $310 million through the Hunter Sewerage Project to provide services to 20,000 unsewered properties in outlying areas.

The removal of septic overflows and treated effluent from Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens and the upgrade of major ocean disposal facilities have improved the quality of the region’s beaches and the health of both these major waterways.

In addition to the improvements achieved under the Hunter Sewerage Project, there has also been an upgrade program focused on the inland wastewater treatment facilities that discharge treated effluent to more sensitive waterways. About $100 million has been spent on the program of works to upgrade our inland wastewater treatment facilities.