Construction starts on water treatment plant

The works, being undertaken by the Eastern Tertiary Alliance – a partnership between Melbourne Water, Baulderstone, UGL Infrastructure, Black & Veatch and KBR – will transform the sewage treatment plant built in 1975 into one of the most sophisticated facilities of its kind in the world.The new treatment facilities will comprise seven buildings spread over an area of about 6 hectares.Melbourne Water general manager of asset planning Paul Pretto said the Eastern Treatment Plant currently supplied about 22 billion litres of recycled water a year. The upgrade will improve the quality of recycled water, which can then be used more widely for toilet flushing, watering sports grounds and irrigating vegetables.“Advances in technology will mean the 40 per cent of Melbourne’s sewage which goes to the plant will be treated to a much higher standard than has been possible in the past and this will have enormous benefits for the marine environment at Gunnamatta,” Pretto said.“The majority of the treated water is discharged at Boags Rocks, near Gunnamatta Beach, and the upgrade will have noticeable environmental benefits, including better water quality and clarity, with less foam and ammonia.“Effluent treatment will be upgraded from a secondary to an advanced form of tertiary treatment and this will also open the door to significantly more water recycling opportunities over time.“The community has traditionally viewed sewage as a waste product, but that view is changing with improvements in technology meaning it can now be utilised more as recycled water.”South East Water and Melbourne Water have identified projects that will use a further 7 billion litres of recycled water from the plant following the completion of the upgrade in late 2012. A range of other projects are being investigated to use up to 40 billion litres a year over the next 30 years.

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