Murray Bridge’s sewerage network will receive a major upgrade as $52 million construction works are scheduled to begin, subject to final development approvals.

Through 2019 and into early 2020, SA Water contractor John Holland will lead construction of a new treatment plant and four pump stations, as well as installation of around 18km of new underground pipe to connect the plant to the existing sewerage network.

SA Water’s General Manager of Asset Operations and Delivery, Mark Gobbie, said the new plant will be able to treat an additional two million litres of sewage a day, and will also incorporate odour control facilities and enhanced treatment processes.

“This includes a biological process called a ‘moving bed biofilm reactor’, with Murray Bridge one of the first non-industrial wastewater treatment plants in Australia to use it,” Mr Gobbie said.

“This technology is able to break down sewage into sludge in a more compact and efficient way than conventional methods. The sludge is eventually turned into an organic material called biosolids, which can be used like compost to improve soils and some crops.

“As with the existing treatment plant, recycled water from the site will also continue to be put to productive use for irrigation of local Department of Defence land.”

The existing wastewater treatment facility has been operating for nearly 50 years, and over this time the population and needs of the Murray Bridge community have changed significantly.

“We need to make sure our local operations can continue to sustain this growth and activity,” Mr Gobbie said.

“Incorporating community needs and feedback into our plans has been an important part of this project.

“We have worked closely with several local groups in the lead-up to construction beginning, including the Rural City of Murray Bridge, local Ngarrindjeri people and properties along the new pipeline route such as Unity College School.

“Community concerns about odour and potential environmental impacts played a key role in determining the location of the new treatment plant. The new site is approximately 10km south of the Murray Bridge township, away from the River Murray floodplain and residential areas.

The gradual decommissioning of the existing wastewater treatment plant adjacent to the Murray Bridge Marina is expected to begin once the new facility is operational in early 2020.

Options for the future use of the current treatment plant site will continue to be discussed with key local stakeholders in coming months. 

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