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Greening industrial facilities

It is no surprise that securing the future of Australia's water supply has been at the forefront of popular debate. A changing climate and a growing population have contributed to the strain on already existing water supplies. The recently constructed Gippsland Water Factory is much more than a wastewater treatment project -- it is creating a social and environmental legacy for future generations.

The Gippsland Water Factory in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, is a pioneering wastewater treatment plant that incorporated both green engineering principals and recycled water into its design objectives.

An Alliance comprising Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), Transfield Services, CH2M HILL and Gippsland Water (owner) have collaborated together to deliver this groundbreaking plant.

The first of its kind in Australia, the plant was developed to treat both the urban wastewater needs of Central Gippsland and trade waste discharges from Australian Paper's pulp and paper mill at Maryvale. Each day the plant treats 15ML of urban wastewater and 20ML of pulp mill trade waste. More than 8ML a day of recycled wastewater will be produced from the treated urban wastewater which is ultimately purchased by Australian Paper for its manufacturing purposes. The remaining highly treated industrial wastewater is discharged to the regional outfall sewer, free of odour-causing organics.

The plant also incorporates renewable energy initiatives, comprising a mini hydro and biogas cogeneration which together produce in excess of 20% of the plant's daily electricity requirements.

An unambiguous target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% off a theoretical benchmark of 52,102%nbsp; tonnes CO2-e per year was set during initial design. This was to ensure the project was well placed for the potential introduction of an emissions trading scheme in Australia. The Gippsland Water Factory (as constructed) reduced annual emissions by approximately 13,681 tonnes of CO2-e, a 29% reduction off the benchmark.

In addition to the direct green engineering initiatives within the treatment plant itself, an educational facility called The Vortex Centre has been constructed next to the plant, and further adds to the site's 'green' credentials. The Vortex's 'green' credentials include being constructed from recycled materials, incorporating active water mass cooling in summer and heating in winter, renewable electricity, passive solar controls and water efficiency. As visitors move through the centre, they learn more about the water cycle and sustainable environments, the Gippsland Water Factory treatment processes and how every individual can play a part in using water wisely.

The Gippsland Water Factory has set the new 'green' engineering benchmark for wastewater treatment plants within Australia and is truly a social and environmental icon for future generations.

Gippsland Water Factory