Wannon Water has proposed the construction of two intermittently decanted extended aeration (IDEA) tanks to increase the capacity of its Warrnambool Sewage Treatment Plant to cater for future investment and growth across the district.

The IDEA tanks are planned for construction on the northern side of the facility to supplement the four existing tanks.

The project, estimated to cost between $30 and $40 million, will be the largest ever single project undertaken by Wannon Water. It will ensure the plant has sufficient capacity for a projected increase in sewage volumes while continuing to protect the environment.

A stakeholder reference group, consisting of residents, customers, and representatives of key interest groups and major customers, was established to help determine the preferred upgrade option for the community and the region as a whole.

The preferred option, based on balancing capital and operational costs, technical considerations, and environmental and social impacts, was endorsed by the Wannon Water Board in May 2017.

The IDEA process has been in use at the plant for more than 20 years and is a robust and proven technology, both at the site and throughout the water industry.

Chair, Jacinta Ermacora, said the upgrade will allow Wannon Water to support residential development and the economic growth of local industries.

“We will continue to maintain sustainable sewage and trade waste treatment practices, and ensure the environment continues to be protected,” Ms Ermacora said.

“The plant currently treats sewage from 13,900 properties in Warrnambool, 300 in Allansford and 700 in Koroit. Figures show demand is growing by 225 additional lots each year, with residential growth in Warrnambool alone anticipated to increase by 81 per cent to 25,000 properties in the next 50 years.

“It will also cater for a projected growth in the food processing industry across the region.”

Managing Director, Andrew Jeffers, said the capital cost of the upgrade will be included in Wannon Water’s Pricing Submission to the Essential Services Commission for the 2018-2023 regulatory period and will form part of a much larger capital works program over the five years.

“The facility will be designed as a long-life asset, meaning the capital cost will be spread over an extended period and across a growing customer base,” Mr Jeffers said.

The design and approvals process will begin in late 2017 with construction expected to begin in 2019 and take two years to complete.

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