Apollo Bay asbestos pipe best left alone

Carl Bicknell

BARWON Water has assured Apollo Bay residents that leaving seven-kilometre asbestos pipe in the ground is the “best option”.

The authority’s water systems general manager Carl Bicknell said Barwon Water would spend more than $3.3 million on doubling the town’s water storage capacity, boosting water quality and upgrading the system.

He said Barwon Water would not use the pipe from the West Barham River weir to the Marengo Basin after the project was finished but it would not remove the asbestos pipe.

Apollo Bay resident Sandra Wilmink, who has led a campaign against the location of the town’s new water storage, has accepted she has lost the battle with the water authority.

“We had 746 residents sign a petition and the community is being ignored.

“But if Barwon Water is going to decommission the West Barham, then they should at least clean it up and not just leave it there, especially when there are all these regulations about removing asbestos.

But Mr Bicknell said the pipe would “remain in the ground as the best environmental and lowest-risk option”.

He said the authority had explained to the community that the new storage would not be on a floodplain, which was one of the concerns, and there would be benefits.

“The new storage will enable most water to be harvested in winter and spring, avoiding the need to pump when river flows are at their lowest,” Mr Bicknell said.

He said Barwon Water would also use new technology to boost water quality, including three-stage filtration to improve the taste and smell of the water.

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