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Major upgrade to Wodonga's wastewater treatment plant to support a growing population

12 December 2023

A major upgrade to Wodonga’s wastewater treatment plant will start early next year, as North East Water continues to support population and business growth, and improved environmental outcomes.

The $73 million project, expected to be completed by the end of 2025, will provide wastewater security for the City of Wodonga and surrounds beyond 2045, as well as several Indigo Shire townships including Kiewa, Tangambalanga and Barnawartha.

It will also produce biogas for energy, cut carbon emissions at the treatment plant by more than 50 per cent, or an estimated 6,500 tonnes of CO2 a year, and lay the foundations for future circular economy opportunities with local industry near the site.

North East Water chair Stephen Brown said he was pleased to announce the contract for construction had been awarded to commercial builders Icon SI (Aust) Pty Ltd, partnering with CCB Envico Pty Ltd and LC Water Pty Ltd, to deliver the project over the next two years.

“Combined, all companies bring a strong track record in the successful delivery of large infrastructure and wastewater treatment projects in Victoria,” Mr Brown said.

“This project is absolutely essential for our region, specifically designed to address anticipated industrial and residential growth, leading to significant economic and environmental benefits.

“The upgrade will accommodate Wodonga's domestic population growth, which is expected to double from 45,000 to approximately 90,000 in the next 25 years, while also meeting the growth demands of major industrial customers.

“The project demonstrates our commitment to improving services to support housing development and industry growth supporting regional employment opportunities.

“We estimate that during the construction period, the project will directly support the equivalent of 16 fulltime jobs and require the sustained participation of over 50 local trades people and suppliers over the two-year project duration.”

North East Water managing director Jo Murdoch said the exciting and innovative upgrade would transform the Corporation’s largest waste processing plant into a revitalised “resource recovery hub”.

“The new infrastructure will redirect high strength industrial wastewater through a more energy and cost-efficient, covered anaerobic treatment process, capturing biogas, freeing up capacity within the existing treatment facilities for residential growth,” Ms Murdoch said.

“The biogas will be turned into renewable energy to power the plant or contribute to the electricity grid, offsetting energy use at other North East Water sites.

“With the improved efficiencies at the plant, it will lead to reduced energy and operational costs, ultimately helping to keep our customers’ bills low.

“The upgrade supports the future expansion plans of major commercial customers in Wodonga, ensuring the growth capability of some of the region’s largest employers.”

The completed project will also complement North East Water’s nearby solar farm, which provides renewable electricity to power the treatment plant, along with a planned $53.1 million renewable hydrogen facility constructed adjacent to the site by Australian Gas Infrastructure Group. That project is supported by the Victorian Government, Australian Renewable Energy Agency and CEFC. Future circular economy synergies between the renewable hydrogen facility are being explored including the provision of biogas, enriched oxygen and recycled water.

The wastewater treatment upgrade will significantly contribute to North East Water’s commitment to be 100 percent renewable by 2025 and net-zero carbon by 2035.

Ms Murdoch added: “I would like to recognise the technical skill and expertise of our staff who have contributed to this project. 

“Their dedication, innovation, and commitment have been instrumental to ensuring the progress of this important initiative.”

Learn more about this project