Digestors under construction at Luggage Point, 1973

Urban Utilities is celebrating 100 years of one of the city’s most important pieces of essential infrastructure, the Luggage Point Sewage Treatment Plant.

The world-class facility – today known as the Luggage Point Resource Recovery Centre – was officially opened on 23 November 1923.

Urban Utilities Chief Executive Officer, Paul Arnold, said the plant was well ahead of its time as it marked the beginning of sewage treatment in Brisbane.

“Despite Brisbane being the last capital city in Australia to be sewered, the plant’s opening saw the city at the forefront of innovation, as it was the first in Australia to use activated sludge technology,” Mr Arnold said.

“The technology was incredibly new and progressive at the time and remains best practice when managing wastewater today.

“Unfortunately, the plant didn’t operate for very long as it was unaffordable during the period of the Great Depression.”

Despite this unusual beginning, the facility was significantly expanded in 1981 with further upgrades in 1993 and 2002.

Mr Arnold said the facility continued to evolve to meet the city’s growing needs.

“The wastewater plant is Queensland’s largest, treating the wastewater of around 750,000 people to the highest standard every day,” Mr Arnold said.

“The treatment plant was renamed Luggage Point Resource Recovery Centre as we’re no longer just treating wastewater, we’re turning it into useful resources such as renewable energy, biosolids for agriculture, and recycled water for local industry.”

Luggage Point is also home to Urban Utilities’ Innovation Centre, which was the first of its kind in Australia when it was launched in 2013.

Mr Arnold said since its opening, the centre had developed into a multi-faceted precinct.

“The Innovation Centre is home to state-of-the-art facilities that attract research partners from around the world.

“From using algae to anammox to treat wastewater naturally, to helping develop Australia’s first ‘flushability’ standard, this industry leading research has taken place at Luggage Point, where sewage treatment first began in Brisbane a century ago.” 

Mr Arnold said Luggage Point would continue to evolve over the coming decades.

“We’re planning well ahead to cater for population growth while working to ensure our infrastructure is resilient to the challenges of climate change.

“We’re also focused on making sure our services remain affordable for our customers across Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley,” Mr Arnold said.

Featured image: Digestors under construction at Luggage Point. Courtesy of Urban Utilities. 

Assistant Editor, Utility magazine

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