SA WWTP sets sustainability record

Friday, 10 July, 2020 | Supplied by: SA Water


SA Water’s new Murray Bridge Wastewater Treatment Plant has received an ‘excellent’ design rating from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA), with the score of 72 reported to be the highest design rating to date for a water or wastewater project in Australia.

With the ability to process up to 4.5 million litres of sewage a day, the plant replaces the previous facility, built in the 1970s, aiming to support local population and industry growth.

SA Water has worked with lead contractor John Holland to build the treatment plant and three connecting pump stations, lay 18 km of underground pipe and install around 420 ground-mounted solar panels at the site.

SA Water’s Matthew Bonnett explained that sustainability and environmental management were at the fore during all stages of the project.

“This includes building climate change resiliency into the treatment plant’s design; minimising waste, dust, noise and vegetation removal during infrastructure installation; sourcing local equipment and supplies where possible; and investing in innovative treatment processes for ongoing operation,” he said.

“A big part of the project’s success has also been working with the local community in the lead-up to and during construction, with site tours and tailor-made education workshops for local school students.”

The plant has been designed to prevent operations from negatively impacting the surrounding community or Lower Murray environment.

“To eliminate the source of odour from the previous Murray Bridge treatment plant and the potential for discharge into the River Murray during flood events, we worked with the Environment Protection Authority to investigate solutions,” Bonnett said.

“The outcome of this assessment was to adopt improved treatment processes and move the plant away from the river floodplain and residential areas.”

The plant incorporates an odour control unit, which consists of a bio-trickling filter and activated carbon tanks, designed to remove 99.95% of odour from the plant. It also has an advanced biological treatment process called a ‘moving bed biofilm reactor’ that helps to break down sewage into sludge in a more compact, efficient and adaptable way than conventional methods.

“The plant will continue to recycle 100% of its treated wastewater for irrigation use at a Department of Defence training area and a nearby pastoral property, and the on-site solar array will ultimately generate 150 kWh per day, helping to power the treatment plant,” Bonnett said.

Image caption: SA Water Murray Bridge Wastewater Treatment Plant.

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