The Victorian Government has announced a $130 million investment in new, energy-efficient water treatment and recycling infrastructure for the Mornington Peninsula and have awarded the contract to a joint venture.

South East Water has appointed the John Holland SUEZ Beca (JHSB) joint venture to undertake a major upgrade of its Boneo Water Recycling Plant (WRP), delivering a range of innovative treatment technologies designed to reduce energy consumption in the water recycling process. The upgrade will be delivered through a design, build, operate and maintain contract, with JHSB operating the plant for ten years to enable knowledge sharing and collaboration.

The project will incorporate leading low-energy nutrient removal and energy recovery processes to help South East Water achieve its emissions reductions target of 45 per cent by 2025, and will have the potential for the Plant to become carbon positive.

The latest available technology, including automation, will be used to achieve world-class operations and maintenance practices.

The upgrade will include the capture of biogas generated during the treatment process to power the plant’s operations, and implementation of the nitrite-shunt nutrient removal process, an emerging technology which significantly reduces the electricity required to treat the wastewater.

The plant’s upgrade will enable an additional 16,000 properties in the area to connect to South East Water’s Peninsula ECO scheme, a reticulated pressure sewer network helping to replace septic tanks and mini treatment plants, a known cause of groundwater and waterway pollution on the southern peninsula.

The upgrade will also support the large seasonal spikes in both sewage inflows – during the summer months, peak flows into the Boneo WRP increase by over 50 per cent – and recycled water use, with local farmers relying on Class A water from the plant for irrigation during the summer months.

South East Water has engaged with a broad range of community and stakeholder groups throughout the planning process. This includes a partnership with Melbourne Water and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to revitalise a section of the Tootgarook Wetlands, adjacent to the plant, which is home to over 120 different bird species, some of which are threatened or endangered. Already more than 57,000 new plants have been planted.

“The Boneo Water Recycling Plant upgrade will support the continued growth of the Mornington Peninsula as a place to live, work and play, while helping to maintain its pristine environment,” Terri Benson, Managing Director at South East Water, said.

“It will also move us significantly closer to our emissions reduction targets, and our commitment to customers to protect our environment.”

Trevor Hall, John Holland Executive General Manager Vic/SA/Tas and NZ said, “John Holland believes in this project as one that improve lives and makes a difference. The construction of the Boneo Water Recycling Plant upgrade will help to future proof the Mornington Peninsula’s ongoing water recycling needs and maximise energy recovery to provide a sustainable solution for the environment.”

Clive Rundle, the General Manager of Beca’s Water business, is looking forward to his team working with South East Water to create this important piece of wastewater infrastructure.

The agreement includes a circa AUD130M capital investment for the consortium to design and build the plant ensuring it caters for future growth in the region, and a further contract for its operations and maintenance.

It is expected that 160 new jobs and ten new apprenticeships will be created for the design, build operation and maintenance of the plant. South East Water anticipates works to commence in March 2019.

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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