Construction of the Northern Water Plant, Geelong's newest water recycling facility, is almost complete and the commissioning (operational testing) phase begins today.
The Northern Water Plant will treat wastewater from the adjacent Shell Refinery and domestic sewage from Geelong's northern suburbs, producing high quality Class A recycled water.
The commissioning period is a significant milestone in the plant's construction and the final stage before it becomes operational. The first phase of commissioning — pumping wastewater into the plant — begins today. The second phase — producing Class A recycled water — is due to start in October.
All of the plant's systems, from the supplying pump stations and biological treatment processes, to the ultra-filtration and reverse osmosis systems and odour treatment facility will be rigorously tested before the plant is put into production. Extensive performance trials will ensure the plant meets the requirements of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Health.
The Northern Water Plant is unique in Australia; no other facility will treat such a large proportion of industrial wastewater to produce high quality Class A recycled water.
When fully operational, the facility will save around 2 billion litres of drinking water annually, equivalent to 5% of Geelong's supply or the water used in 10,000 homes.
Around 800 people have worked on the site, clocking up over 200,000 hours without any lost time to injury or incident — an excellent result in the construction industry. The project is expected to be complete in early 2013, on time and on budget.