Sewage innovation wins award
Eurobodalla Shire Council has won an engineering award for its innovation in cleaning and assessing the Kianga Sewage Treatment Plant.
The plant’s three million-litre sewage tank that services 3,134 homes from Narooma, Dalmeny and Kianga needed to be emptied to check its condition, allowing council to plan for future upgrades and to ensure it was operating at full capacity.
Council’s water and sewer team devised an intricate plan to use two smaller empty channels nearby, decommissioned from use 30 years ago, as a temporary plant to service the community while the checks and maintenance were carried out.
The four-week project was no easy feat. Sewer operators innovatively supercharged the bugs in the effluent so the treatment process would work in the smaller channels, technical staff devised ways to limit flows, fitters welded temporary homes for aerators and pumps that were rigged up by electricians, and workers manually tested and adjusted effluent 24/7 – a process normally automated - to avoid environmental impacts.
The equivalent of an Olympic-sized swimming pool of effluent was pumped into the temporary channels and a bobcat was lowered into the tank to clean it.
The process returned eight per cent capacity, or the equivalent of 250 homes, to the tank and its life was extended from 50 to 60 years, saving ratepayers the expense of a potential upgrade in the near future.
The team’s efforts were rewarded last week when the project won the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) 2016 NSW Engineering Excellence Award for Innovation in Water Supply and Wastewater.
Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services and IPWEA NSW president Warren Sharpe said the judges were impressed by the team’s innovation and dedication.
“The challenge was to keep the plant operating while the main process tank was emptied for cleaning and inspection,” he said.
“We basically had to operate the same plant with a third of the capacity.
“It was very intricate work that involved four months of planning, and once the new control systems were in place it was an around-the-clock operation for a month.”
Mr Sharpe said sewage treatment plants were key community infrastructure.
“The townships of Dalmeny, Narooma and Kianga are growing and we are now confident we can accommodate the populations into the future,” he said. Media Release