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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

4 November 2001

Wastewater to Help Grow Native Trees at Correctional Facility

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced $225,000 funding for an innovative wastewater treatment project at the Darwin Correctional Centre.

Senator Hill said the $500,000 Northern Territory Correctional Services scheme would see wastewater from the facility being treated then used to irrigate coconut palms and native trees at the Prison Reserve.

"At the moment, the waste-stabilisation ponds at the Darwin Correctional Centre discharge directly to the East Arm estuary of Hudson Creek and the nutrients disperse at high tide," Senator Hill said.

"This project involves building on-ground works to treat this waste water before it spills into the creek, and ultimately Darwin Harbour. Instead, 100 per cent of the treated water will be used for irrigation on an existing coconut plantation and also on new native vegetation to be planted on vacant land at the Prison Reserve.

"Dealing with waste water in this manner is a clever approach and this project will be used as a demonstration site for other institutions."

Senator Hill said Darwin Harbour was a focal point in the city of Darwin for tourism, recreation, as a working port and for its heritage and cultural values.

"The Harbour, however, is beginning to show signs of stress from the way sewage is treated and disposed of in Darwin. As the city has grown, the predominant use of waste-stabilisation ponds which overflow into the mangrove-fringed tidal creeks of the harbour, has seen nutrient levels increase," Senator Hill said.

"The growing concentration of nutrients in Darwin Harbour is creating environmental concerns and it is important for us to be exploring alternatives to the way the city's sewage is treated. This correctional centre project combines a practical solution to the problem and also an innovative approach to water conservation."

Monday, November 4, 2001

Media Contact:
Belinda Huppatz 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia