Rising groundwater threat to assets

RelatedArsenic-laced water threatens to spill into waterways

Rising groundwater would damage roads and buildings, kill grass in parks and lawns and make Bendigo literally smell like rotten eggs, the man in charge of the city’s assets has warned. 

City of Greater Bendigo presentation and assets director Darren Fuzzard said council had been concerned about groundwater rising up through the city’s abandoned mines since Unity Mining ceased dewatering in 2012.

ROAD DAMAGE: The city's assets director warns that, if left unchecked, rising groundwater would weaken roads, footpaths and the foundations of buildings.

ROAD DAMAGE: The city's assets director warns that, if left unchecked, rising groundwater would weaken roads, footpaths and the foundations of buildings.

Clearly, being the most liveable regional city in Australia doesn't include smelling like rotten egg gas

City presentation and assets director Darren Fuzzard

“We don’t want to have that groundwater coming up under buildings, underneath roads and footpaths – that makes them susceptible to failing earlier,” Mr Fuzzard said.

“Leaving aside the contents of that water – its salt loads and the other substances it carries –  once you have the water table closer and closer to the surface, underneath buildings and roads, then the softer the ground is where the load is being put onto it. 

“So you’ve got traffic and weight being very close to the water and that weakens physically the structure of the pavement or the buildings footings.”

But Mr Fuzzard said the contents of the groundwater – which include arsenic and hydrogen sulphide, or rotten egg gas – also carried implications for city assets. 

“In terms of that water coming up in our parklands, we know from where we do see that happen from time to time, in selected locations, that it has a very damaging effect on the grass – it just cannot cope with that kind of water coming up into it,” he said. 

The city assets director added the smell of hydrogen sulphide across the city would also make a mockery of its ambition to be the most liveable in regional Australia. 

“Everybody remembers the terrible smell that used to be around Bendigo when that water was flowing out into the creek and you do still get that a little bit in Rosalind Park because there is a pipe from which a very small amount still flows – we want to make sure that never happens on a large scale,” he said. 

Mr Fuzzard said he council excited about the proposed ‘Coliban Option’ – currently awaiting city and ministerial approval – which would treat groundwater at the Epsom Water Reclamation Plant.