Unitywater has won the Infrastructure Project Innovation Award at the Australian Water Association (AWA) Queensland awards.

The winning project was the reconfiguration of the Coolum, Suncoast and Maroochydore sewage treatment plants, completed last year and which resulted in the closure of the Suncoast plant.

Simon Taylor, Executive Manager Infrastructure Planning and Capital Delivery at Unitywater, said that the project showcased innovative thinking.

“The population between Maroochydore and Coolum is set to grow and environmental standards are becoming stricter so we needed to upgrade sewerage services.

“Traditional thinking would have seen us simply create bigger versions of the existing treatment plants.

“However our engineers thought outside the square and delivered a solution that actually closed down a plant, drilled a pipeline under the Maroochy River and built a wetland at the Coolum plant to help treat sewage,” Mr Taylor said.

In all, the $24 million project delivered a whole-of-life saving of $57 million compared to the original business case. It also meant the Maroochy River no longer receives six tonnes of nitrogen and 1.5 tonnes of phosphorous each year.

This is the second year in a row that Unitywater has won the AWA Qld Infrastructure Project Innovation Award. The Maleny Sewage Treatment Plant and Wetlands took the honours in 2014.

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