Western Water has handed over the management of its $53million Sunbury Recycled Water Plant upgrade to a major construction company.

Downer has a 10-year contract to design, build and operate the plant, which will remain in Western Water ownership, with construction to begin mid-2016 and take three years to complete.

The Sunbury Recycled Water Plant upgrade is the biggest infrastructure project in Western Water’s history, and will cater to the high population growth expected in Sunbury and Diggers Rest.

One of the key features of the upgraded plant will be a membrane biological reactor (MBR) tank, the final step in the treatment process.

This tank will draw the wastewater through tiny membranes smaller than a human hair, leaving any remaining solids behind.

Western Water’s General Manager, Customer and Community Relations, Graham Holt, said the upgrade will ensure there are safe, effective sewer services and a reliable, high-quality recycled water supply to the­se growing communities.

“Recycled water will become an increasingly important resource to support local businesses and keep our sports grounds green, even during times of drought,” Mr Holt said.

“Downer is very experienced at design, construction and operation of similar wastewater treatment facilities around Australia.

“They have been working closely with Western Water staff over the past few months to ensure a seamless handover.”

Mr Holt said there should be minimum disruption to nearby residents, with construction hours limited to 7am to 6pm, and residents notified when periods of increased traffic are expected.

“We’ve done a lot of work to ensure the community is involved in this project, setting up a Project Reference Group, which is meeting regularly,” Mr Holt said.

“This group will help us get information about the project out to the community, while feeding in any concerns people may have so we can respond quickly.”

The Project Reference Group consists of around ten community members, including residents who live near the plant.

“One of the advantages of Downer’s plans for the project is that the plant can continue operating throughout, with no disruption to our customers’ sewer services,” Mr Holt said.

“Most of the original plant will be re-purposed for the upgrade, and the plant’s overall size will not increase.” 

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