Barwon Water takes next step with RRON

Barwon Water will be out and about this month to share information with the community on the latest development of the Regional Renewable Organics Network (RRON).

Barwon Water will be out and about this month to share information with the community on the latest development of the Regional Renewable Organics Network (RRON).

This project will revolutionise waste management in the region. It has reached a significant milestone with the appointment of Hitachi Zosen Inova Australia Pty Ltd (HZIA) to help design the RRON. They will also support the submission of the EPA Development Licence Application (DLA) and planning permit application to the City of Greater Geelong. These submissions are expected to occur in December.

HZIA is the Australian branch of Hitachi Zosen Inova. It is a global company specialising in renewable energy from waste initiatives. They are leading providers of solutions for energy transition and circular economy projects.

The RRON facility will be near the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant precinct near the existing biosolids facility.

It is part of plans to transform the site into a circular economy hub for the region. The project will leverage Barwon Water’s expertise and infrastructure to help manage the region’s organic waste.

What are the license conditions for the RRON?

The EPA Development Licence conditions will ensure the facility’s operation minimises the impact on neighbouring properties and the surrounding environment. Barwon Water Managing Director Shaun Cumming said the water corporation remains dedicated to minimising any potential impact on the community.

“As we move forward, our next steps involve submitting a planning permit application to the City of Greater Geelong and a development license application to the EPA.”

One of the exciting aspects of RRON is the transformation of organic waste into biochar, which not only sequesters carbon but holds great promise across a range of industries, from improving soil quality on farms to possible use as anodes in batteries.

“We are already making strides in biochar research and development and look forward to sharing more about our progress during the upcoming community engagement sessions,” Shaun added.

“We have actively listened and learned what matters most to our community members. To further strengthen this connection, we will conduct community information sessions across various locations, including central Geelong, Torquay, Bannockburn, Queenscliff, and Barwon Heads, from late October to mid-November. Additionally, we will provide an online session for those unable to attend in person. We look forward to engaging with the community and working together to shape a more sustainable future for our region.”

See for more details and information.

About the RRON

Barwon Water and four local councils are joining forces to transform organic waste into biochar. Biochar is a high-value product for agriculture that also sequesters carbon dioxide. At the same time, they will generate renewable energy in a big step forward for the circular economy in Victoria.

Barwon Water has signed waste supply agreements with the Borough of Queenscliffe, the City of Greater Geelong, Golden Plains Shire, and Surf Coast Shire. In a significant innovation in how the benefits of a circular economy can be realised, Barwon Water will take organic waste from kerbside collection. They will process it at the Regional Renewable Organics Network (RRON).

Borough of Queenscliffe CEO Martin Gill said he was pleased to be part of the RRON.

“We’re facing the same challenges in transitioning to a cleaner, circular economy. Sending rubbish to landfill is increasingly problematic. It makes sense for councils to partner with Barwon Water on this solution. I’m delighted that the borough is part of it.”

Surf Coast Shire Council CEO Robyn Seymour said the Surf Coast Shire Council was working collaboratively to create local circular economy solutions in the region.

“We’re already diverting our food and organics from landfills to provide quality compost for agriculture. Through the RRON, we’ll be helping to keep this valuable material local.”

Golden Plains Shire CEO Eric Braslis said the RRON coming online fitted with the Shire’s introduction of a Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection service.

“At the heart of our waste strategy is a commitment to reduce the waste we send to landfills. As a regional council, this can be challenging. The ability to partner with other councils and Barwon Water has been a core part of our plans. We look forward to the RRON opening in 2025/2026. It will be in time for Golden Plains Shire to introduce its new FOGO bins and service.”

City of Greater Geelong CEO Ali Wastie emphasised the City’s commitment to sustainability.

“We adopted our Sustainability Framework in 2020 with ambitious targets focusing on the best outcomes for the community, the environment, and the economy. I’m pleased that the City is a partner in this project.”

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