September 5th 2006
Horseshoe Bay water recycling plant opens
Townsville's water recycling program took a major step forward with the commissioning of the $9.5 million Horseshoe Bay water treatment plant today.
Mayor Cr Tony Mooney and State Minister for Child Safety Hon Mike Reynolds opened the facility this morning to mark the first big milestone in the Townsville City Council's target of reusing 90 percent of all wastewater.
The facility will treat all wastewater from Horseshoe Bay and produce an average 700kL of "Class A" recycled water per day to irrigate the neighbouring purpose-built rainforest park and the Magnetic Island Sports and Recreation Club.
In a community-led move, the high quality treated effluent will also be used for fire fighting by the Horseshoe Bay Rural Fire Brigade through a dedicated supply to the fire station.
Cr Mooney said the Horseshoe Bay plant and the state-of-the-art treatment plant at Picnic Bay provided Magnetic Island with World-class facilities.
"Routine discharge into the World Heritage Area around Magnetic Island is a thing of the past," Cr Mooney said.
"Magnetic Island has become one of Queensland's first communities where all effluent is fully treated to become high quality recycled water for irrigation and process reuse."
Funded jointly by Council and the Queensland State Government, the Horseshoe Bay Facility has been constructed by the Water Matters Alliance, a partnership between Citiwater (Townsville City Council), Abigroup Contractors, Aquatec Maxcon, GHD Pty Ltd and United Group Infrastructure.
Completed on time, under budget and already meeting all environmental licences, the state-of-the-art facility sets a new benchmark for environmental sustainability by reusing all the water it receives.
Both the smaller wastewater treatment facility in Picnic Bay and the Horseshoe Bay plant use the advanced Membrane Bioreactor technology.
The Picnic Bay facility provides a safe and reliable supply of recycled water to irrigate the Island's Golf Course.
"Magnetic Island has a reputation as a community sensitive to environmental issues. This new facility provides good environmental outcomes by reusing waster water and conserving valuable town water supplies."
Cr Mooney acknowledged the role of the Magnetic Island community in the project through the Community Reference Group which was formed to facilitate resident input into the project.
The site of the old facility will be rehabilitated and returned to sustainable environmental use through a Council and community partnership.
The Horseshoe Bay facility is the first major project to be completed as part of the Council's plan to establish regional Australia's biggest water recycling scheme in Townsville.
Water Matters Alliance is responsible for designing and delivering the $100 million, three year upgrade of the city's wastewater system.
Some of the technical features of the plant, according to Citiwater, include:
*Fine screening to remove debris and unbiodegradable matter, allowing only particles less than 3 mm (approximately) and dissolved material to pass through into the treatment process.
*A grit removal step after screening that allows dense particles (e.g. sand) to be settled and removed as solid waste, along with the screenings from the previous step. The solid waste will be taken by Citiwaste and disposed in the same manner as normal domestic rubbish and may ultimately be reused itself.
*The main treatment process will be a state-of-the-art membrane bioreactor (MBR), in which a population of naturally-occurring micro-organisms feed on the nutrients in the wastewater, removing virtually all the dissolved organic matter and reducing the nitrogen content by more than 80%.
*The micro-organisms that grow form into particles (flocs) that can be readily removed by micro filtration through a semi-permeable membrane. The membranes remove all particles down to less than 0.04 micron (1 micron is equal to 1/1000th of a mm). Virtually all bacteria and other pathogens (including some viruses) are removed in this manner, leaving only dissolved material in the treated effluent.
*Phosphorus is removed by simultaneous addition of chemicals to the MBR. The chemicals are added at relatively low concentrations and do not interfere with the natural biological processes in the MBR.
Some of the specific benefits of this new facility include: increased recycled water reuse through improved treatment quality, including irrigation of local sporting fields to improve their appearance and usability; development of the Magnetic island Dry Tropics Rainforest - recycled water from the new facility will be used as a core component of the establishment and maintenance of the environmental area
Reduced Nitrogen and Phosphorus in discharged treated wastewater - the new plant will have average operational requirements of:
*Nitrogen: < 10 milligrams per litre (current plant operation <24 mg/L)
*Phosphorus: < 3 milligrams per litre (current plant operation <6 mg/L)
Removal of the existing Horseshoe Bay treatment facility and rehabilitation of the site for as a public environmental facility.
It is Townsville City Council's strategy to reuse 90 percent of the city's wastewater by 2010.
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