Buffers

A buffer is the distance between a use that produces an emission and another use that is sensitive to that emission.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) defines a buffer as the land between the boundary of an area that may be used by an industrial land use, such as a wastewater treatment plant, and the boundary of the area within which unacceptable adverse impacts due to industrial emissions on the amenity of sensitive land use are possible.

Buffers are designed to protect infrastructure and associated investment and prevent land use conflict.

Wastewater treatment plants and their associated buffers can occupy anywhere between 80 to 400 hectares of land. Using buffers productively for community and environmental benefits makes sense but requires land use planning to make happen.

Planning for beneficial land use

We work in accordance with State Planning Policy 4.1 – State Industrial Buffers. We define buffers for our infrastructure assets, and work with planning authorities to secure buffers to provide investment security to essential infrastructure and prevent land use conflict.

To supplement the use of buffers, we are also working to establish and plan for strategic resource areas or precincts around some of our wastewater treatment plants.

For more information see:

Environmental Protection Authority Guidance Statement No 3 – Separation distances between industrial and sensitive land uses

State Planning Policy 4.1

Strategic resource areas

Types of buffers

Odour buffers – provided to our wastewater treatment plants and wastewater pump stations. Odour can create a nuisance. Buffers protect from the impacts of odour and help prevent land use conflict.

Chlorine buffers – provided to chlorine storage areas at our water and wastewater treatment plants, to reduce health and safety risks of potential chlorine leaks.

Noise buffers – provided to our noise generating infrastructure.

Cathodic protection buffers – provided to prevent premature corrosion of metal, such as steel reinforcement in buildings.

Wellhead protection buffers – provided to prevent contamination of groundwater in the vicinity of our groundwater extraction bores.

Buffers can be contained in other buffers. For example, noise and chlorine buffers for wastewater treatment plants are often contained in odour buffers, which are greater in size

To find out more, download our matrix of land use compatibility for buffer zones, which lists land use categories and their compatibility with various buffers.

Land use compatibility matrix

For help and advice on productive use of buffers around our infrastructure, please contact us at landplanning@watercorporation.com.au.

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