Upgrade coming for Whyalla’s recycled water warrior

Work is underway this week to upgrade SA Water’s recycled water plant in Whyalla, as part of the utility’s $200,000 investment to enhance sewage treatment and the plant’s overall performance.

Work is underway this week to upgrade SA Water’s recycled water plant in Whyalla as part of the utility’s $200,000 investment to enhance sewage treatment and the plant’s overall performance.

More than 1,300 diffusers in both of the plant’s treatment basins – which look like large swimming pools – will be replaced. It will improve the efficiency of the biological process that breaks down nutrients in sewage.

SA Water’s General Manager of Operations, Chris Young, said the diffusers distribute a constant oxygen supply to help microorganisms remove the nutrients. This is an essential step in recycling sewage.

“As we look to tackle the changing climate, our treatment plants have transformed into rich resource recovery centres. They are now capable of creating sustainable sources of recycled water,” Chris said.

“When Whyalla’s number ones and twos come into the local plant, they undergo a series of processes to treat the sewage and separate the solid organic material from water.

“The diffuser membranes we’re replacing are located along the base of the basins. They push oxygen into the sewage held inside the structure.

“Oxygen gives the naturally-occurring bugs in sewage the extra push they need to break down the organic material and remove all nutrients before the water flows to another tank for additional treatment.

“The process is a living, breathing beast. We must keep it performing optimally to maximise our recycled water supply. Replacing the diffusers every five years ensures we look after our busy bugs.

“The local council will use the recycled water to help irrigate and green Whyalla’s ovals and parks. They also help keep the golf courses’ playing surface looking lush.

“While the basins are empty, we’ll also clean them and inspect other equipment that’s usually not visible. The project should take around seven weeks to complete.”

SA Water’s Whyalla Recycled Water Plant was built in 2008 within the existing footprint of the utility’s wastewater treatment plant. It currently supplies around 2.5 million litres of recycled water daily.

Mr Young said there wouldn’t be any impact on local customers’ sewer services during the works. Measures are already in place to manage any temporary increases in sewer odour from the plant.

“We expect this to be a low likelihood, but do encourage the community to be our ‘sleuths’ and get in touch if they notice any change,” Chris said.

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