The 2012 upgrade to the Eastern Treatment Plant (ETP) is setting world-leading standards for advanced wastewater treatment. The success of the highly awarded project has not only led to a significant improvement in the quality of treated water and recycled water. It is also proving cost-effective while benefiting the environment and the community.
Previously, treated water from the plant was either recycled or pumped along a 56km pipeline, before being discharged into the ocean at an outfall on the southern Mornington Peninsula. This was impacting the marine environment and recreational users of the surrounding beaches.
To address these issues, Melbourne Water engaged in rigorous, world-leading pilot trials that led to a new treatment solution based on ozone, biological filters, UV and chlorine treatment. This resulted in a $400 million advanced tertiary treatment upgrade that is unprecedented in its use of innovative processes for large scale wastewater treatment.
The effectiveness of this innovative approach has resulted in a reduction of impacts on the environment, in turn eliminating the need for an estimated $400 million ocean outfall extension.
The research and pilot trials led to an estimated $50 million capital cost saving from the original upgrade design, and a saving of 35 percent in operational and maintenance costs – savings that are passed on to Melbourne Water’s customers. New methods were established for measuring the effectiveness of disinfection which have now been incorporated in national guidelines.
The product quality from the new plant enables a wider range of recycling opportunities to support regional water security and prosperity. The ETP upgrade is an excellent example of how a single project can produce multiple benefits, and has delivered a lasting legacy for our future.