Water factory responds to sewage question

GIPPSLAND Water has provided Wellington Shire Council with a detailed response to a question on notice from Cr Bob Wenger.

Cr Wenger had asked what contingencies Gippsland Water had in place for continued operation of the Water Factory in the case of extended power outages.

The question arose after Gippsland Water was forced to release untreated waste water into the Regional Outfall Sewer open drain between Rosedale and Dutson Downs on April 4 following an electrical explosion at the Morwell Terminal Station, which left the water factory without power for 50 hours.

The $230 million Gippsland Water Factory project has removed raw waste from, and addressed the odour previously generated in, the open channel that forms part of the Regional Outfall System.

The main treatment plant, located at Maryvale, treats up to 35 million litres of wastewater daily from more than 19,000 properties in nine central Gippsland towns and Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill.

Measures Gippsland Water indicated it intended to take to improve the system’s capability in coming years include:

Increased industrial emergency storage capacity by 55 million litres;

Double the hydraulic transfer capacity between Australian Paper and the water factory;

Buying an additional standby generator to double the capacity of emergency onsite generation;

A five per cent increase in filtration capacity at the water factory to increase production throughput; and

Retrofitting the membrane operating system with a more energy efficient agitation system to reduce electrical demand on emergency generators to increase throughput during power outages.

“Hopefully that may alleviate some of the problem that happened when there has been a power outage over in the Valley to stop that waste coming through the line through our area,” Cr Wenger said.