Melbourne Water injects millions into Western Treatment Plant

Melbourne Water is continuing to invest in critical infrastructure by updating the Western Treatment Plant. The upgrade will transform it into a modern, state-of-the-art facility. It will help reduce greenhouse emissions and cater to Melbourne’s growing sewerage needs.

Melbourne Water is continuing to invest in critical infrastructure by updating the Western Treatment Plant. The upgrade will transform it into a modern, state-of-the-art facility. It will help reduce greenhouse emissions and cater to Melbourne’s growing sewerage needs.

Turning the first sod of the all-new Resource Recovery and Re-Use Complex, this future-focussed $711 million facility will enhance the resilience of the sewerage system. It will advance resource recovery and assist in Melbourne Water’s path to net zero by improving the site’s solids treatment process.

“The Resource Recovery and Re-Use Complex is a major milestone in the transformation of the Western Treatment Plant. It will enable rapid evolution of the site to meet the needs of the next decade and beyond,” Melbourne Water Managing Director Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo said.

“The transition to environmentally sustainable sewage treatment will deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It will also help us to produce more renewable energy. The upgrade is a step change in our resource recovery ability at the Western Treatment Plant, supporting Victoria’s Circular Economy.”

Western Treatment Plant upgrade to support the community

Modernising the way Melbourne Water treats incoming sewage and returning the existing lagoon-based assets at the plant to a more sustainable mode of operation, the Resource Recovery and Re-Use Complex consists of four projects that will introduce:

  • New preliminary and primary treatment processes to divert raw sewage away from the overloaded anaerobic lagoons. This will reduce the frequency of odour-intensive maintenance works;
  • Improved solids handling and anaerobic digestion processes to divert sludge away from the overloaded aerated ponds. It will capture carbon and improve safety;
  • A new receiving facility to receive and treat Tankered Waste from customers to manage the risk to the environment. It will also fulfil Melbourne Water’s obligations under the Environmental Protection Act and;
  • A new liquid food waste facility to receive waste from industrial customers for co-digestion. This will generate renewable energy.

The project will improve the treatment capacity of the Western Treatment Plant, which treats over 60 per cent of Melbourne’s sewage. Currently managing 200 billion litres of sewage a year, capacity will be increased by almost 50 per cent, ensuring Melbourne Water continues to service Melbourne – a city projected to double in population by 2050.

The bundling of the four projects has aided technical innovation. It is sustainably modernising the way incoming sewage is treated. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, better integrate liquid food waste, and enhance the site’s methane gas production to create renewable energy.

The Western Treatment Plant Resource Recovery and Re-Use Complex – which is a joint partnership initiative between Melbourne Water and John Holland Group – will take three years to complete and will be fully operational in 2029.

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