Mt Martha recycled water upgrade lowers emissions

Monday, 10 October, 2016

Mt Martha recycled water upgrade lowers emissions

The Victorian Government has announced the completion of a $60m upgrade to South East Water’s Mt Martha Water Recycling Plant that will deliver a vital alternative source of water for local business and community organisations, while reducing the environmental impact of its water treatment processes.

Member for Eastern Victoria Daniel Mulino MP officially opened the upgraded facility and met with customers already making use of the plant’s new recycled water supply.

Central to the two-year project is construction of a tertiary treatment plant, which is already delivering high-quality Class A recycled water to farms, wineries, businesses and council facilities. At its peak, the plant will produce 26 ML of Class A recycled water per day.

The upgrade also includes a thermophilic anaerobic digestion process (TPAD), an Australian first, in which organic matter is broken down faster than most other processes through the use of higher temperatures.

Unlike traditional anaerobic digestion processes which maintain organic matter at body temperature during treatment, TPAD makes greater use of the biogas emitted during the digestion process to heat the material to 55°C, cultivating bacteria that deactivate pathogens and remove volatile organic content more quickly.

Not only does this help to create a more efficient treatment process, but it significantly reduces the recycling plant’s environmental impact by capturing and using more methane and producing less odour.

In line with its commitment to the 100% re-use of biosolids, a by-product from the treatment process, South East Water has also constructed two solar dryers as part of the upgrade. The dryers reduce the need for open-air drying pans, which produce more odour and occupy a greater footprint within the plant.

Member for Eastern Victoria Daniel Mulino MP (left) and Kevin Hutchings, South East Water MD, in one of the new solar dryers.

Most importantly, they can cut the biosolids drying time from one year to as little as two months, getting a higher quality fertiliser into the hands of local farmers more quickly, using a fraction of the energy of standard alternative technologies such as gas-powered dryers. South East Water now has five solar dryers and produces more than 3000 dry tonnes of biosolids each year.

“We’re now working closely with customers to further boost recycled water use and enhance the resilience and livability of this growing region,” said South East Water Managing Director Kevin Hutchings.

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