A $5 million, two-year project to replace the microfiltration membranes at the Bendigo Water Treatment Plant has been completed.

Coliban Water Manager Community Operations, Mick Dunne, said the project will improve plant efficiency and save water.

“Our Bendigo plant has 4,608 microfiltration membranes which are made up of thousands of porous fibres that filter out various particles and impurities found in the raw water entering the plant,” Mr Dunne said.

“Membrane fibres can become blocked and damaged, and need to be replaced every eight years. The condition of the membranes is affected by the quality of the raw water.

“As the fibres become blocked, larger amounts of water are needed for the regular backwash process. The quality of the water produced by the membranes is not compromised but their performance and plant efficiency are affected.”

The raw water supplied to the Bendigo Water Treatment Plant can be sourced from the three catchment storages located near Kyneton, the Goulburn System via the Goldfields Superpipe or from Coliban Water’s 18 per cent share of Lake Eppalock.

“The last time the membranes were changed was in 2010. It is a complex project that has to be done while the plant is in operation and in the cooler months to prevent heat damage to the membranes when demand for water at the plant is lower,” Mr Dunne said.

“The average daily demand in summer is around 55 megalitres, which drops to around 25 megalitres in winter. The plant has the capacity to treat 126 megalitres of water per day.

“The works were carried out by Veolia’s own maintenance team.”

The Bendigo Water Treatment Plant is owned and operated by Bendigo Water Services (BWS) under a Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) contract between Coliban Water and Veolia.

BWS owns and operates water treatment plants for Bendigo, Castlemaine and Kyneton under a 25-year contract that started in June 2002.

“At the time of construction, the Bendigo Water Treatment Plant was the largest water treatment plant in the world to use submerged microfiltration technology and delivers water that surpasses existing drinking water guidelines and anticipates future regulations,” Mr Dunne said.

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