The installation of a unique art sculpture and final planting of around 7,400 native plants marks the completion of work at SA Water’s wastewater pump station on Jervois Road in Murray Bridge, which has been given the Ngarrindjeri name of ‘Nankeri tapatawangk’, meaning ‘place of good water’.

The landscape and architectural design of the pump station site focuses on sharing the culture of the region’s Traditional Owners – the Ngarrindjeri people –and their connection to water, with the wider community.

SA Water’s Senior Manager of Media and Communications, Joshua Zugajev, said this feature has been incorporated into almost every element on the site.

“An interpretive walking trail through a landscaped area around the pump station depicts the important water sites within Ngarrindjeri Country, including the River Murray, Long Island, Murray Mouth, Coorong, Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert,” Mr Zugajev said.

“The trail will eventually connect into the Rural City of Murray Bridge’s section of the Murray Coorong Trail.

“Surrounding the path is a rhythmic pattern of raised garden beds, set against a native grass sward, which is reminiscent of the ancient mallee-topped sand dunes still found in the local area.

“This special landscape design was brought to life by Aboriginal architect and visual artist, Paul Herzich, along with the many environmental groups we worked with over the past 18 or so months.

“Installed at the head of the trail are two large mosaic-covered sculptures of ‘Kungari nga:tadi’ – black swan eggs– which were crafted by Adelaide artist Andrew Stock, with contribution from students at Unity College in Murray Bridge. The path also leads to two water basins which are filled with rainwater runoff from the pump station roof.

“Forty species of carefully selected and locally sourced native plants, including ten threatened species, are scattered across the two-hectare pump station site, and were chosen to survive the region’s hot summers and the local sandy conditions. Signage near each variety of plant shows what they will look like once fully grown.

“The plants are watered by recycled water straight from the Brinkley Wastewater Treatment Plant, through a network of 9,000m of underground drip-tube irrigation.

“Being near the entrance to Murray Bridge, it was important to create a space that is visually appealing and can still be enjoyed by the community, and it was fantastic to be able to partner with the local council and all our project partners to achieve this.”

The pump station was one of three built as part of a $52 million upgrade of the local wastewater network, which also included the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Brinkley – around 10km south of the Murray Bridge township – and an additional 18km of underground pipe.

The treatment plant began operating in June 2020, and is able to process up to 4.5 million litres of sewage a day for more than 14,000 local residents and businesses.

“As with the Jervois Road wastewater pump station, we strived to incorporate sustainability and innovation into the design of our newest wastewater treatment plant,” Mr Zugajev said.

“The Murray Bridge facility is one of four wastewater treatment plants around the state which recycles 100 per cent of treated wastewater for reuse, with the high-quality product used at a Department of Defence training area and a nearby pastoral property.

“Around 420 ground-mounted solar panels contribute to powering the plant, and it incorporates an odour control unit designed to remove 99.95 per cent of odour as well as an advanced biological treatment process to help break down sewage into sludge in a more compact and efficient way.

“These features recently led to the overall upgrade receiving the highest design rating to date for a water or wastewater project assessed by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia.”

The project was also recognised in November 2020 at the Australian Water Association’s South Australian Water Awards, winning the regional Infrastructure Project Innovation Award.

Murray Bridge wastewater pump station Kungari nga: tadi sculptures.

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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