Barwon Water will undertake a major upgrade of the Bannockburn water reclamation plant to meet a forecast boom in population.
A new 100-megalitre treatment and storage lagoon will be constructed on the existing Stephens Road site, with increased volumes of recycled water available for horticulture, agriculture and recreation.
The first stage of the upgrade will involve removing part of a Barwon Water plantation to allow geotechnical investigations and provide for the future location of the storage lagoon. About 1,000 trees in the 5,000-tree plantation will be mulched and used in a new replanting program.
Golden Plains Shire has predicted Bannockburn's population will increase to almost 8,000 by 2026. This growth greatly exceeds projections when the town's sewerage network was built in the late 1990s.
The existing water reclamation plant was designed for a population of 3000.
Barwon Water's General Manager Capital Projects Paul Northey said the upgrade was crucial to managing increased sewage generated by the growth centre.
"The project will not only meet the development needs of Golden Plains Shire and the expectations of the local community, but will ensure an excellent environmental outcome by producing recycled water for a range of potential uses."
Mr Northey said the plant already supplied recycled water to the nearby golf club and the upgrade would create opportunities for other potential users.
The project was budgeted for in Barwon Water's capital investment program, Mr Northey said.
The Brittle gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) plantation was established by Barwon Water eight years ago specifically for irrigation. The species is not native to the area but common in other regions of Victoria.
The trees identified for removal are nearing the end of their growth cycle and will be mulched for new plantings on site and in the remaining plantation.
Mr Northey said the upgrade would not impact on the Stephens Road bushland reserve managed under a Trust for Nature conservation covenant.
Environmental overlays on the land would remain protected under Barwon Water ownership, he said.
Meanwhile, land and geotechnical surveys are being carried out as part of a water pump station upgrade in Milton Street, Bannockburn.
The infrastructure also is being improved to meet growth.