TasWater has announced a $1.8 billion ten-year investment in upgrades to sewage treatment plants, sewerage networks and other critical infrastructure.
TasWater Manager Asset Strategy, Duncan Sinclair, said the significant capital investment program would greatly improve the organisation’s capacity to safely return wastewater to the environment as well as the network’s capacity to deal with stormwater inundation.
“The Tasmanian Government’s recent budget announcement, committing $160 million to assist TasWater to achieve its infrastructure upgrade goals, will provide additional support to help accelerate key sewerage network improvements,” Mr Sinclair said.
“These important works encompass a range of priority upgrade and renewal programs across the state, from Queenstown in the west, Orford on the east coast, George Town, Westbury and Longford in the north, Latrobe in the north west to Glenorchy in the south.”
Another important investment will focus on resolving the shortcomings of the Launceston network.
Mr Sinclair said the 160-year-old Launceston network was the only combined system in the state, comprising a single pipe to carry both sewage and stormwater.
“During high rainfall, the system is designed to release a mix of heavily diluted sewage and stormwater in a controlled way into the environment to prevent the network backing up and flooding,” Mr Sinclair said.
“Importantly, that release is predominantly stormwater.”
To help rectify the situation, TasWater, the Australian and Tasmanian Governments as well as the City of Launceston Council, are jointly investing $140.7 million through the Tamar Estuary River Health Action Plan under the Launceston City Deal, to improve the river’s health and the system flows within the combined network.
The $107.5 million contribution from federal, state and local governments to this project is in addition to TasWater’s $33.2 million direct capital works investment for the project.
“This work includes the proposed construction of storages to increase TasWater’s capacity to hold flows during significant rain events,” Mr Sinclair said.
“Typically, these controlled releases do not pose any risk to public health and are very carefully monitored.
“TasWater also ensures consistent maintenance of the sewer network through ongoing cleaning, CCTV inspections and pipe relining.”