Central Coast reopens waste facilities

Residents on the Central Coast in NSW are able to utilise the Woy Woy and Buttonderry waste management facilities following its closure due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Although access remained open for waste management vehicles, private waste contractors and small business customers, the public were prohibited from entering all three Central Coast Council waste facilities.

A Central Coast Council spokesperson said all three facilities were closed to the public in line with NSW Police advice and the NSW Government’s Public Health Order of March 29.

“In response to the developing situation with COVID-19, the NSW Government later issued a fact sheet clarifying the management of waste and recycling facilities,” the spokesperson said.

“As a result, the restriction on public access to the Woy Woy and Buttonderry waste management facilities was lifted.”

The Kincumber facility remains closed due to ongoing maintenance work.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the community, limit the need for residents to travel, minimise contact and ensure services are still being provided, Council has changed some operations at its waste management facilities.

Council is encouraging all residents to utilise their three bin and bulk collection services and comply with requirements around non-essential travel.

CEO Central Coast Council, Gary Murphy, said Council’s priority is the health of staff and the Central Coast community and continuing to deliver essential services.

“I want to assure the community that all our essential services are not interrupted, and this includes water and sewer; collection and management of waste,” he said.

Essential services across the region continue, including work on its rolling program to inspect and replace critical sewage sewage to improve the performance and reliability of the network.

More than $2 million dollars has been earmarked for the project this financial year that sees existing pipes rehabilitated with structural relining to extend their service life by up to 50 years or replacing end-of-design-life equipment.

“We manage an extensive sewer network with 2,649 kilometres of sewer pipelines across the region as well as eight sewage treatment plants and more than 320 sewage pumping stations,” Council spokesperson said.

“We are using innovative techniques to rehabilitate damaged sewer pipelines during the work.”

Council starts by clearing the pipe and assessing the conditions of sewer lines via CCTV camera, then insert a liner to reinforce the existing pipe structure that seals any leaks, significantly reducing the risk of future damage, particularly from tree roots.

“This technique reduces the need to excavate, minimising disruption to services during works and reduces repair costs,” Council spokesperson said.

“This essential maintenance on local sewer infrastructure will improve asset and network reliability, lower the risk of environmental discharges and help ensure we have adequate and sustainable infrastructure to meet future demand.”

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Southern Oil Refining turning waste into oil

A new plant that aims to turn biosolids from waste water treatment sewage into renewable crude oil is being built in Gladstone, Queensland.

The Federal Government is providing Southern Oil Refining with up to $4 million in funding for the $11.8 million demonstration plant.

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Biosolids will be sources from waste water treatment plants in Gladstone as well as the project’s partner Melbourne Water Corporation’s Werribee facility.

The renewable crude oil will then be upgraded to renewable diesel and potentially jet fuel.

Southern Oil Refining’s existing Northern Oil Refining facility in Gladstone will be used for the project, which is currently being used for re-refining waste oils such as transmission and engine oils.

It will treat up to one million litres of biosolids a year using a thermochemical conversion process to produce a biocrude.

Minister for the Environment Josh Frydenberg said that bioenergy projects not only provide an alternative to the stockpiling of waste, but also have the potential to help with Australia’s fuel security.

“With Australia producing over 300,000 tonnes of biosolids through sewage treatment annually, it makes sense to look for options for commercialising its disposal,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Federal Member for Flynn Mr Ken O’Dowd said he is excited for Gladstone to be the home of world-class, state of the art technology.

“Using the skills and some of the world’s best R&D and scientists, there is no stopping this remarkable ‘new age’ company from achieving this huge benefit that was once thought to be a distant aspiration,” Mr O’Dowd said.

The project was funded though the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which also provided $2.4 million for Australia’s first biocrude and biofuel laboratory based at the same site.

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