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Latest news blog

Black Rock Recycled Water Plant construction update 3: video

Work on the Black Rock Recycled Water Plant project began in January 2012 and is now around 95% complete.

  • All pipe and equipment testing is complete and the high voltage power upgrades have been finalised.
  • Commissioning (operational testing) is due to begin later this month.
  • Class A recycled water certification is on track for mid 2013.
  • The project has logged 90,000 hours with no time lost to injuries.

The new plant is being built adjacent to the existing Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre. The facilities are part of the larger Black Rock Environmental Precinct, which also incorporates a biosolids drying plant, recycled water share farm, bicycle path and buffer land.

When complete, the recycled water plant will take treated water from the existing water reclamation plant and refine it with several treatment phases including ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection and chlorine disinfection. The resultant Class A recycled water will be available for new 'purple pipe' residential developments at Armstrong Creek and Torquay North.

  Watch on YouTube

  Black Rock Recycled Water Plant

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Air scouring water mains across Geelong's north

Barwon Water is about to embark on one of the biggest maintenance programs in its history: the "air scouring" of more than 250 kilometres of underground water pipes.

Water mains across Geelong's northern suburbs will be cleaned in sections over the next 18 months, between February 2013 and June 2014.

Work will begin in Corio, followed by Norlane, North Shore, Bell Post Hill, Bell Park, North Geelong, Rippleside, Drumcondra and Hamlyn Heights.

The program uses air and water under pressure to clean the pipes, and is linked to the covering and lining of storage basins at Lovely Banks. These project will improve water and reduce evaporation.

Air scouring can result in short-term water quality issues. If you notice milky or dirty water while works are underway in your area, we suggest you run a garden tap at the rear of your property until the water runs clear. This water is ideal for garden watering.

Residents and businesses whose water needs to be switched off during the cleaning will be notified by mail before work begins. We will also post updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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Water Minister opens biosolids plant

The Minister for Water, the Honourable Peter Walsh, MLA, today officially opened the $77 million biosolids thermal drying facility at the Black Rock environmental precinct in Connewarre.

This morning's ribbon-cutting completes a project that has been more than 10 years in the making.

Image shows Water Minister Peter Walsh and Plenary Group Associate Director Carl Retschko cutting a green ribbon to officially open the biosolids drying facility.

Water Minister Peter Walsh with Plenary Group Associate Director Carl Retschko officially open the biosolids drying facility.


What are biosolids?

The treatment of sewage relies on billions of micro-organisms. Biosolids — mainly composed of the dead bodies of these tiny microbes — are a by-product.

Every day of the year, the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant treats around 50 million litres of domestic and commercial sewage from the greater Geelong region and creates almost 140 tonnes of biosolids.

Biosolids are nutrient-rich and make valuable fertiliser, but must be first dried and turned into pellets.


Treating biosolids

The need for a solution to treat biosolids arose following a multi-million dollar upgrade to the Black Rock plant in the late 1990s.

An interim arrangement was reached with Melbourne Water to transport biosolids to the Western Treatment Plant in Werribee. Since then, nearly 500,000 tonnes of biosolids have been trucked to Werribee for drying before being used as fertiliser.


Finding a solution

A group of community members and industry professionals was convened in 2004 and determined criteria for a world-class treatment facility. The facility needed to:

  • be fully-enclosed
  • not omit odours beyond Barwon Water's boundary
  • have a small environmental footprint
  • be sympathetic with the coastal landscape
  • produce a high quality product.

The biosolids drying facility meets all these criteria. Biosolids from all of Barwon Water's reclamation plants are sent to the facility where they are dried, pelletised and made available as fertiliser.


Forming a partnership

The biosolids drying facility was built by the Plenary Group and will be operated by the Water Infrastructure Group.

The $77 million project was delivered within the Partnerships Victoria framework, an initiative of the Victorian Government.


Closing the loop

The new facility sits alongside the existing reclamation plant and the Class A recycled water plant (currently under construction), completing the sewage treatment cycle.

In addition to treating sewage and its by-products on one site, Barwon Water can now boast:

  • a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with transporting, storing and treating biosolids
  • a decrease in the land needed to dry biosolids
  • a product for beneficial re-use.

This approach meets our commitment to a 'no waste' sewerage system that benefits our customers, the community and the environment.

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Developers: proposed changes to new customer contributions

Are you a property developer, or planning to sub-divide? If so, changes proposed by the Essential Services Commission (ESC, the independent regulator for the water sector) to the new customer contributions framework may affect you, and we would like your feedback.


What is a new customer contribution?

A charge paid by developers to Barwon Water toward the cost of connecting new water, sewerage and/or recycled water services to a property or sub-division.


What are the main changes proposed by the ESC?

The ESC's proposed pricing framework better reflects the true cost of new connections (compared to the existing structure) and takes into account projected revenue.

Refer to the consultation document, below, for more detail.

New customer contributions - consultation draft

PDF 1.7 MB


Feedback should be made in writing to:

  Barwon Water, Network Planning Team, PO Box 659 Geelong VIC 3220


Feedback is welcome until Monday 28 January 2012.


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Season's greetings from Barwon Water

The management and staff at Barwon Water would like to wish all our customers a safe and happy festive season.

Please note our opening hours during the holiday period.

Our customer service centres (Geelong, South Geelong, Colac and Lorne) and call centre will be closed on:

  • Monday 24 December 2012 (Christmas Eve): Closed
  • Tuesday 25 December 2012 (Christmas Day): Closed
  • Wednesday 26 December 2012 (Boxing Day): Closed
  • Tuesday 1 January 2013 (New Year's Day): Closed

For emergencies and faults, such a burst water main, we are still available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

  Emergencies and faults

  Contact us

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Water Security Outlook released

Barwon Water has released the 2012 Water Security Outlook — an annual supplement to the long-term Water Supply Demand Strategy.

Water Security Outlook 2012

PDF 1.6 MB

Greater Geelong

The outlook paints a positive picture for the greater Geelong region.

Taking into account increased population growth projection, and allowing for the most extreme climate scenario, our water supplies are secure for the next 35 years.

New water sources, including the Anglesea borefield, Melbourne to Geelong Pipeline and new recycled water plants ensure we have the capability to meet demand now and into the future.

Rainfall over the past 12 months has meant drought response initiatives, such as the Barwon Downs Borefield and water restrictions, would not be required for several years.


Colac and surrounding towns

The Water Supply Outlook also details revised forecasts for the Colac Otway region, where the growth rate has been revised from 0.43% up to 1.0%.

In September 2012, Barwon Water announced plans to upgrade Colac's supply system within the next five years to meet growth, climate variability and potential risks to current supply infrastructure. Six options currently shortlisted for consideration, with an extensive community consultation program now underway. A decision on the best option is expected by June 2013.

  Colac water supply upgrades


Coastal towns

The coastal townships of Aireys Inlet and Lorne have separate water supply systems, and are in good shape ahead of summer.

Work is underway on a new 250 million litre water storage in Apollo Bay and, once complete, will spell the end to summer water restrictions.

  Apollo Bay water supply

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New water charges from 1 January 2013

A 3% price adjustment to cover the cost of constructing the Melbourne to Geelong pipeline will apply to water volume and water service charges only. Sewerage charges will not change.

The new charges are effective from 1 January 2013.

For a typical residential customer using 165 kilolitres of water a year, the price rise equates to an additional 28 cents a week or $14.56 a year. Bills will vary depending on usage.

The independent Essential Services Commission approved the increase in June 2012, but stipulated it could only be applied once the pipeline was ready to supply water.

  Fees and charges: residential customers

  Fees and charges: business customers


We would like to assure our customers future prices will be kept to a minimum.

Increases over the past 5 years have funded crucial water security projects in the Geelong region. We are aware of cost-of-living pressures on the community, and have committed to minimising future prices, with zero increases (excluding inflation) proposed for the next 5 years.

The 57-kilometre Melbourne to Geelong pipeline can now supply water, but it will not be required for several years because of other water security initiatives.

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Bannockburn upgrade complete

A major upgrade of Bannockburn's water reclamation plant has been completed.

The $4.3 million project includes new treatment and storage lagoons and a pumping station at the Stephens Road site.

The new lagoons provide additional storage for 100 million litres of Class C recycled water suitable for irrigating sporting grounds, recreational facilities and certain food crops.

New lagoons can store 100 million litres of recycled water.

The plant, built in the late 1990s, was originally designed for a population of 3000. With a significant growth forecast for Bannockburn, the updated infrastructure will cater for future development.

The facility supplies recycled water to the nearby Bannockburn Golf Club. The upgrade will create opportunities for potential new recycled water customers.

The work was part of a $12.7 million program of works to improve local water and sewerage services. Nearby projects include replacing a pumping station (due for completion in January 2013) and a new water storage tank (scheduled to begin early next year), both on Milton Road.

This project was delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.

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Work beginning on Apollo Bay storage

We are upgrading the water supply to Apollo Bay, Marengo and Skenes Creek.

A new 250 million litre water storage will meet forecast growth and spell the end of summer water restrictions in these towns.

In addition to the new basin, the project includes replacing the existing Barham River pumping station, building a new transfer pumping station, and laying the connecting pipelines.

The storage is expected to be operational in 2014 and will meet forecast growth until 2055.


Drop in to our new project office, 93 Great Ocean Road, Apollo Bay. 


Construction update

Site set-up has begun and environmental controls, including silt fences and groundwater and dust management, are being established.

Site sheds and amenities are being installed on Barham River Road.

We expect to have earthworks and the basin lining completed before winter 2013.


Changed traffic conditions ahead

We are asking residents to please be mindful of changed traffic conditions around Barham River Road.

There will be a number of very large trucks delivering materials and equipment to the site during the next month.


Visit our project office

A project office has been established at 93 Great Ocean Road in Apollo Bay (Great Ocean Raod Real Estate, corner of Great Ocean Road and Moore Street).

Residents are welcome to drop in for more information about the work.


This project is being delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.


  Apollo Bay water supply

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Lorne reservoir upgraded

Lorne's Allen Reservoir has been given a $900,000 upgrade.

The outlet tower — that collects water from the reservoir and transfers it to the treatment plant — has been replaced, and the tower can now be operated remotely.

The upgrade allows operators to choose at what depth the water is taken from the reservoir, which has already resulted in higher quality intake water.

Lorne's water quality has improved thanks to a $900,000 upgrade to the Allen Reservoir.

The 222 million litre reservoir, built in 1958, is Lorne's sole water source of drinking water. This upgrade will improve security and services to Lorne and reflects advances in water supply operations. The project demonstrates Barwon Water's commitment to deliver quality services efficiently.

This project was delivered by the Barwon Water Alliance.

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