Sydney Water is nearing completion on a $50 million upgrade to the Winmalee Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales.
The facility, which services 60,000 customers, has been undergoing upgrades since 2020 to improve the health of the surrounding waterways by reducing the nutrient loads of treated water being released.
Flora and fauna in the surrounding Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment is set to benefit from the upgrades, which include the construction of a membrane BIO-reactor and the provision of new fine drum screens.
Once completed, the improvements are hoped to significantly reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loads discharged from the Winmalee facility.
Sydney Water Blue Mountains Production Manager, Jose Gonzalez, confirmed the upgrade will reduce the nutrient loads by more than 50 per cent, establishing the Winmalee WRRF as best practice for nutrient removal.
“It’s an example of where Sydney Water is delivering world leading performance, implementing changes now to protect the environment for future generations,” Mr Gonzalez said.
Sydney Water Senior Environmental Scientist, Samantha Prior, says Winmalee is surrounded by natural bushland that is home to many native flora and fauna species.
“A large population of an endangered Leucopogon flower grows near the site. The waterways provide habitat for ducks, frogs and platypus which have been recorded downstream. These latest upgrades will reduce the nutrient load to the environment, contributing towards maintaining and improving stream health in the future,” Ms Prior said.
Upgrades to the Winmalee WRRF are due to be completed by December 2023.
Featured image: Sydney Water Blue Mountains Production Manager, Jose Gonzalez, at the Winmalee site. Courtesy of Sydney Water.