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Sydney Water and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment are working on an upgrade and expansion of water and wastewater services in growth areas of Sydney. As part of a record $2.2 billion spend over the next three years, Sydney Water will provide new and upgraded wastewater infrastructure in Sydney’s North West to support an expected additional half a million people by 2040.

By 2040, the number of customers in the catchment area serviced by Riverstone, St Marys and Quakers Hill is expected to more than double. Sydney Water is investing $450 million into the Lower South Creek Treatment Program which involves amplified wastewater treatment facilities at Riverstone Wastewater Treatment Plant and upgrading water recycling plants at St Marys and Quakers Hill.

The project will also see improvement work to a 12km pipeline that runs between the St Marys and the Quakers Hill Water Recycling Plants, and a new biological nutrient removal plant at the Quakers Hill Water Recycling Plant, both to be completed in 2020. These improvements will result in many benefits for the surrounding community, including cleaner waterways.

As part of the project, Sydney Water has adopted a new approach to planning, design and specialist services, choosing to utilise a Delivery Partner model for this project.

Plans for a biological nutrient removal plant

Biological nutrient removal is a process that removes nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater before it is discharged into surface or groundwater. Overall, the biological nutrient removal plant works to accomplish a balance between achieving tight effluent discharge standards, minimising power use and chemical consumption, while providing the operations team with a plant that is reliable, and easy to maintain and operate.

Mark Simister, Head of Delivery Management at Sydney Water, said the biological processes for the plants pose a challenge as Sydney Water is targeting low effluent discharge targets of total phosphorus and total nitrogen.

“The biological nutrient removal plant removes the bulk of the phosphorous in the wastewater, and with the addition of a supplementary carbon source also produces lower nitrogen levels,” Mr Simister said.

Lower south creek treatment program

Construction works commenced at the Riverstone Water Treatment Plant in February 2016 and are expected to be completed in mid 2018, followed by a commissioning stage.

The remainder of the project is in a detailed design phase as Sydney Water is currently assessing the environmental and community impacts of the proposed work at St Marys and Quakers Hill Water Recycling Plants. This assessment, or Review of Environmental Factors, was on public display until 22 December 2017 at sydneywatertalk.com.au.

“We are planning for work to start at St Marys Water Recycling Plant in early 2018 and Quakers Hill Water Recycling Plant in mid 2018. It is expected that construction and commissioning of the new infrastructure will be complete in 2020,” Mr Simister said.

“The Lower South Creek Treatment Program will improve the quality and reliability of wastewater services and increase the treatment capacity at all three plants, supporting growth in these areas. Treatment capacity will increase at Riverstone by more than three times the current amount (4ML/d to 14ML/d).”

Choosing an innovative delivery partner model

As part of the project, Sydney Water has adopted a new approach to planning, design and specialist services, choosing to utilise a Delivery Partner model for this project.

The Delivery Partner model encourages partnerships with the supply chain through an integrated team, and innovation and flexibility in delivery coupled with cost efficiency from contractor continuity, as well as economies of scale.

“We are able to secure pricing early and procure materials for all three sites at the same time. These cost savings are then passed on to our customers in the form of lower water bills,” Mr Simister said.

Mr Simister said Sydney Water is the first water utility in Australia to use this innovative delivery model to deliver best outcomes for customers and government.

“The Delivery Partner model is a highly collaborative performance-based approach, where the delivery partner takes accountability for the overall program outcomes and manages contractors, while Sydney Water remains principal for those contracts,” Mr Simister said.

“Using the Delivery Partner model for a program of works, Sydney Water is able to realise cost efficiencies through packaging of works, improved supply chain integration and uniform procurement of materials and construction contracts.

“We can now cater for accelerated mobilisation, team integration and delivery implementation. We have also designed the model to be agile enough to take advantage of changing technical priorities and customer needs, along with cost and scheduling opportunities.”

Minimising impacts

The upgrade program will ensure that Sydney Water continues to supply a reliable wastewater service that supports the region’s estimated growth and continues to protect the environment and waterways in the area.

“Sydney Water is committed to minimising any impacts from the project’s construction activities on the local community. The community and other stakeholders will be provided with accurate and timely information throughout the life of the project.”

Kevin Young, Managing Director at Sydney Water, said that these infrastructure projects provide the foundation and investment to allow for the growth of Sydney.

“We are helping to fulfil the dream for thousands of extra families to own a home in Sydney, one of the world’s most liveable cities.

“A key driver for the investment program is to deliver quality services to Sydney Water customers while reducing customer bills, which we have been able to deliver in real terms by around $100 a year.”

Other projects included in the $2.2 billion Sydney Water upgrade project:

$130 million to provide water and wastewater services for around 20,000 new dwellings in western precincts of the North West Priority Growth Area, including Marsden Park, Marsden Park Industrial, Marsden Park North and Schofields West

$27 million wastewater pumping station and the installation of around eight kilometres of wastewater pipelines will allow for 7,000 new homes to be built in Sydney’s South West at Oran Park

$19 million construction of a new wastewater pumping station and 4.2km of pipelines at Austral in Sydney’s South West

$45 million for two wastewater pumping stations and 12km of pipeline at Leppington in Sydney’s South West

$100 million to upgrade the Northern Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer network, which collects about 25 per cent of the Sydney

Basin’s wastewater and runs from Blacktown to North Head. The work will include de-silting and repairs to this critical pipeline between West Ryde and North Head

$45 million to separate Sydney’s last remaining combined stormwater/wastewater system to help reduce the number of wet weather wastewater overflows at Woolloomooloo Bay

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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