Managing groundwater from Bendigo`s mines

Managing groundwater
from Bendigo’s mines
Working with the community
The Department of Environment,
Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is
developing plans to manage rising
groundwater from Bendigo’s gold
mines, in consultation with the
Bendigo and Woodvale communities
and with key stakeholders.
These include Unity Mining, water
and local authorities and other
government departments: the
Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS), the Department of
Economic Development, Jobs,
Transport and the Regions and the
Environmental Protection Authority.
ended in 2011, groundwater levels
began rising back to the surface.
Without intervention, it will discharge
to the surface, as it did before mining
began, adversely affecting the area’s
environment and amenity.
DELWP has undertaken regular
consultation with the Bendigo and
Woodvale communities. These include
presentations of possible transitional
and long term solutions at Bendigo
Town Hall and Woodvale Community
DELWP is coordinating a whole-ofgovernment response to develop
transitional and long term
The most recent consultation took place
management solutions to manage this.
at Woodvale Community Hall on
Tuesday, 18 August, 2015, to update
DELWP is consulting with both
residents, and others, on a recent
Bendigo and Woodvale residents, their
testing program of rainwater tanks and
representative body, the Community
soils on properties around the ponds,
Reference Group (CRG), and the Local
and shortlisted transitional groundwater
and State Government Advisory Group
management options.
(LSGAG), to develop solutions of most
benefit to these communities.
Woodvale testing program
Bendigo has a proud gold mining
Points of interest
history, with continuous activity from
 DELWP predicts groundwater may
the 1860s to 1954. By the 1970s,
surface in the Eaglehawk Regional
smelly, salty groundwater which
Park, north of Bendigo towards the
contains a variety of materials,
end of this year, unless a
including arsenic and other metals,
transitional management option is
flowed out of old mine shafts along
put in place, while work continues
the Bendigo Creek.
on a long term solution.
DELWP commissioned a program of
testing to sample the water tanks and
soils on properties within about a one
kilometre radius of the Woodvale
evaporation ponds, after residents
expressed concerns about
contamination resulting from dust
Mining began again in the 1980s. To
access the gold reefs companies
including Western Mining
Corporation, Bendigo Mining and
Unity Mining, pumped naturally
occurring groundwater from the
mines to purpose built evaporation
ponds at Woodvale.
In reviewing the final report, DHHS
concluded that: “The testing found there
were no rainwater tanks that had
arsenic above the Australian Drinking
Water Guidelines level. Soil tests at
properties found no public health risk.”
This pumping managed groundwater
levels beneath Bendigo for three
decades. It prevented the
groundwater flowing into the
waterways and environment.
When the latest gold mining phase
 The composition of the
groundwater comes from the
natural rocks beneath Bendigo.
 Up to 2.5 million litres a day of
groundwater must be removed
from the historic workings to
prevent it discharging at the
The full report is available
Action to manage the groundwater
A final word
DELWP coordinated a short term
response to manage rising
groundwater levels by engaging
Unity Mining to pump groundwater
to the Woodvale evaporation ponds
earlier this year.
This is an important issue for Bendigo
and Woodvale.
Pumping has now stopped. DELWP
continues to work at the transitional
and long term options to mange
groundwater beneath Bendigo.
Your feedback is valuable. Residents
have already contributed responses,
which have been incorporated into
planning considerations.
In consultation with the Bendigo and
Woodvale communities, the CRG and
LSGAG, transitional options are
shortlisted to three and include
different ways of treating the
groundwater and disposing of waste.
To contribute to the ongoing
consultation or for more information
please e-mail: or
call 136 186. You can also find out
more at the website: www.
Everyone is working to find solutions
which best meets the needs of both
Register for future consultation opportunities
Email or call 136 186
Find out more
© The State of Victoria Department of Environment, Land,
Water and Planning 2015
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