$711m transforms Melbourne’s wastewater treatment

wastewater treatment melbourne

Wastewater treatment in Melbourne’s west is being transformed thanks to a $711 million investment to modernise the Western Treatment Plant.

Minister for Water Harriet Shing last week turned the first sod on the start of works on a new Resource Recovery and Re-Use Complex – the first major milestone in the modernisation of the plant.

Melbourne’s population is set to double by 2050 and the upgrade to the Western Treatment Plant is key to ensuring Melbourne’s infrastructure is equipped to meet future demands. The project will deliver an additional 95 billion litres per year in primary treatment capacity.

“Innovation and efficiency in wastewater treatment has enabled Victoria to lead in adaptation to climate change, our circular economy and delivering large-scale improvements to liveability,” Shing said. “Better wastewater treatment means we’re also well-equipped to manage the challenges of population growth.”

The Western Treatment Plant is a world leader in environmentally-friendly sewage treatment, and one of Victoria’s most unlikely hidden treasures – doubling as a working farm and internationally-recognised bird habitat. It’s home to some of the world’s critically endangered species including the orange-bellied parrot and growling grass frog.

When it was first established in the 1890s, the Western Treatment Plant transformed Melbourne’s public health and sanitation – now it processes more than 182,500 million litres every year while using a low-cost, low-energy treatment processes.

“The Resource Recovery and Re-Use Complex is a major milestone in the transformation of the Western Treatment Plant and will enable rapid evolution of the site to meet the needs of the next decade and beyond,” according to Melbourne Water Managing Director Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo.

“The transition to environmentally sustainable sewage treatment will deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, help us to produce more renewable energy, and is a step change in our resource recovery ability at the Western Treatment Plant, supporting Victoria’s Circular Economy.”

Modernising the way Melbourne Water treats incoming sewage, and returning the existing lagoon-based assets at the plant to a more sustainable mode of operation, the Resource Recovery and Re-Use Complex consists of four projects that will introduce:

  • New preliminary and primary treatment processes to divert raw sewage away from the overloaded anaerobic lagoons, reducing the frequency of odour intensive maintenance works;
  • Improved solids handling and anaerobic digestion processes to divert sludge away from the overloaded aerated ponds, capturing carbon and improving safety;
  • A new receiving facility to receive and treat Tankered Waste from customers to manage the risk to the environment and fulfil Melbourne Water’s obligations under the Environmental Protection Act, and;
  • A new liquid food waste facility to receive waste from industrial customers for co-digestion, which will generate renewable energy.

For more information, visit: www.melbournewater.com.au

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