Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water
The Hon Peter Walsh MP
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security
Minister for Water
Water treatment plant to save billions of litres a year
Joint Media Statement
30 April 2013
A $94 million water treatment plant that will save about 2 billion litres of drinking water every year was officially opened at Corio today by Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh and Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Amanda Rishworth.
Speaking at the opening of the Northern Water Plant, Mr Walsh said the project was a prime example of governments, industry and a water corporation working together to create a sustainable water future.
"The Northern Water Plant treats sewage and trade waste from Geelong's northern suburbs to produce Class A recycled water for the Shell Geelong Refinery," Mr Walsh said. "It will save about five per cent of Geelong's current annual consumption, while the highquality recycled water will also be available for other uses.
"Although there are other plants like this in Australia, the Northern Water Plant is the only facility that generates the highest class of recycled water from sewage containing such a high proportion of industrial wastewater.
"The Northern Water Plant showcases sustainable water management and is testament to the benefits of private and public sector collaboration in achieving innovative solutions to regional growth challenges."
Also speaking at the opening, Ms Rishworth said "This is an important investment in the future water security, and will diversify the water supply for the city of Geelong and Barwon region.
"Not only will this project maximise the availability of non-potable water for industry and the wider community, conserving precious drinking water, it will also reduce the amount of waste water discharged into the ocean to create a healthier environment.
"On behalf of the Federal Government, I congratulate all the partners who collaborated in this project, including the Government of Victoria, Barwon Water and Shell, to develop a state of the art water recycling plant which will deliver 1870 megalitres of recycled water per year."
The Northern Water Plant is unique in Australia because it combines several functions into one facility, including:
- domestic and industrial wastewater treatment;
- advanced treatment to generate the highest class of recycled water; and
- supply to industry.
The Victorian Coalition Government has contributed $9.2 million, Barwon Water $17.5 million, the Australian Government $20 million, and Shell $47.5 million.
Barwon Water Chairman Dr Michael King said the opening was the culmination of a decade of planning, consultation and construction.
"In 2003, Barwon Water began a major investigation into managing increasing sewage from northern Geelong. At the same time, Shell was looking at ways to improve the quality of its wastewater and introduce recycled water to reduce drinking water use," Dr King said. "The Northern Water Plant was a natural fit to meet the infrastructure needs of both organisations.
"It is Barwon Water's first Class A facility and will meet projected growth across Geelong's northern suburbs, and has avoided costly and disruptive upgrades of the sewerage system through central Geelong. It is, in every sense, a valuable community asset."
Shell Geelong Refinery General Manager Mark Schubert said Shell was proud of the partnership encompassing the water corporation, industry and both levels of government.
"I believe what we have achieved is very important and unique. Right at this moment, it is great to be receiving five million litres of recycled water a day, having freed up capacity in the sewer system as well as all that water for community use," Mr Schubert said.
"We are proud of the fact that regardless of whether there is a Shell refinery here, this plant is a valuable asset to the community. It is an asset that Shell will look back on and say 'we were part of making that happen'."