The Gippsland Water Factory (GWF) has landed the top international prize at the annual WateReuse Awards.
Located in the heart of Latrobe Valley, Victoria, one of the world’s most greenhouse emission-intense industrial precincts, the project has made a real difference in greening the area.
The WateReuse Awards honour projects and people who have made significant contributions to water reuse. The awards typically recognise projects that advance alternative sources of water supply or offer a novel approach to meeting local water needs.
In addressing 60 years of offensive odours, inadequate wastewater capacity and regional water supply challenges, the GWF establishes a new standard in total water management. These standards encompass a variety of elements including innovative wastewater treatment, water reuse and education to showcase the water industry as a responsible steward of the environment.
Delivered by an alliance comprising Gippsland Water, CH2M Hill, Transfield Services and Parsons Brinckerhoff, the GWF is a water purification and recycling system which uses state-of-the-art technology, including biological treatment, membrane filtration and reverse osmosis, to treat nearly 35 million litres of domestic and industrial wastewater per day. The facility produces eight to 12 million litres per day of high-quality recycled water for use by local industry.
Green engineering principles and design were incorporated throughout the project, including cogeneration of energy from the biogas generated by anaerobic treatment (330 kW) and a MicroHydro station (340 kW) that captures energy from a large, clean water stream that feeds into the clean water reservoir. The electricity powers operations and minimises environmental impacts.
“The project illustrates how important it is to develop industrial and power projects with holistic, sustainable water management in mind so that the long-term needs of the facility can be met while protecting local freshwater resources,” said CH2M HILL water reuse global technology lead Larry Schimmoller.
The project also included the design and delivery of a community educational facility. Featuring interactive displays, touch screens and videos, the centre focuses on water conservation and sustainable water management, highlighting water as a precious resource at a local, state, national and global level. The hands-on activities, engaging programs and distinctive location combine to promote behavioural change and increased awareness of the need to use water responsibly.