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Wodonga Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

Wodonga Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

Learn more about this project to increase the plant's capacity and also reduce carbon emissions.

About this project

About this project

We're planning a major upgrade to Wodonga's sewage treatment plant which will increase its capacity, and more importantly reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced.

This $30 million project is a crucial part of North East Water's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

The upgrade will lead to the more efficient and effective reuse of waste to create renewable energy which can be used behind the meter (to power the plant) or put back into the electricity grid.

Drop-in Community Information Session

If you would like to find out more information about this project, join us for a drop-in information session.

Where: North East Water head office, 83 Thomas Mitchell Drive, Wodonga
Date: 21 October 2021
Time: Anytime between 11am and 3pm 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we upgrading Wodonga's wastewater treatment plant?

Wodonga has been recognised as a fast growing region within North East Victoria with an increasing population and industry. The current treatment plant is 30 years old and operates at almost 100% capacity, so an upgrade is crucial to meet the needs of a growing population and local industry.

The treatment plant also currently contributes to a significant amount of carbon emissions (in fact a third of all emissions created by North East Water’s entire operations). With our pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050, this upgrade project will help achieve this goal.

What will the upgrade consist of?

The upgrade will see the addition of new infrastructure that will allow high strength wastewater from industry to be diverted from existing treatment facilities and put through a more energy efficient process. This will free up capacity within the existing facilities to cater for the growth needs of Wodonga. The new processes will include covered anaerobic lagoons, biogas recovery and renewable electricity generation and post anaerobic treatment facilities to ensure treatment licence conditions are maintained.

Anaerobic treatment uses biological processes where wastewater is broken down by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen. This process is much more energy efficient than our current treatment method. It also produces biogas (containing 60-70% methane) which is captured under the treatment lagoon covers. This biogas will be converted to renewable electricity that will be used to power the wastewater treatment plant. Any surplus energy will be sent to the electricity grid.

How will the upgraded treatment plant benefit the community?

A major outcome of this upgrade is to ensure that we continue to provide treatment capacity for the growing needs of Wodonga while ensuring ongoing environmental compliance with water treatment standards.

Major benefits include:

  • Supporting the region’s future residential growth and increased industrial capacity
  • Leading innovative solutions to support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Generating renewable energy to power our treatment processes
  • Improving local industry waste management practices

Which company has been appointed to undertake the works?

A contractor will be determined by an open tender process in line with the Department of Treasury and Finance guidelines. It is intended that procurement for a contractor will commence in October 2021 through an Expression of Interest process followed by a Request for Tender to short-listed parties established through the Expression of Interest process. It is planned to have a contractor engaged to complete the detailed design and construct the upgrade from July 2022.

What is the project timeline and how long will construction take?

North East Water expects the design and construction contract to be awarded in July 2022. It is anticipated that the design and construction phase will take approximately two years to complete, meaning the new facilities will be able to commence operation in late 2024.

How safe is the new infrastructure?

While the project will be creating biogas, the daily quantities produced are low and significantly below hazardous facilities thresholds posing a low risk. Nonetheless the design of the facility will ensure compliance with regulations providing for a site that has appropriate monitoring and safety systems and protocols in place which will be tightly controlled. 

The risk profile of the site will not increase significantly.

Will this work reduce odours in the nearby vicinity?

Odour modelling has been undertaken in parallel to development of the reference design for the project. This modelling compares the current odour state to that of the upgraded facility. The results confirm that the upgrade will provide a net benefit in reducing potential odours from the site. This is largely due to diverting the stronger waste to the new facilities that are completely covered, further restricting any odours from being emitted.

Will nearby neighbours be impacted by this work?

During the construction phase there will be increased activity at the site. North East Water will liaise with neighbours and ensure that disruptions are kept to a minimum. The area of development sits within an area zoned for industrial use with planning provisions in place to support the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant, so there won’t be any impact to residential areas.

Will there be traffic impacts?

There may be increased traffic in the area during construction, however it is not expected to result in any road closures or significant disruptions. Any works on or around roads will be provided with appropriate traffic management to minimise potential impacts.

What benefits will the project have on commercial and industrial customers?

The upgrade will provide capacity to continue to support industrial and commercial customers within Wodonga. In addition the upgrade will allow high strength loads received from industrial customers to be managed and treated in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner through harnessing resources for beneficial use. It may also offer some customers the ability to divert waste away from landfill providing for improved environmental outcomes.

Is this upgrade linked to the construction of the nearby hydrogen facility?

While not directly related to the upgrade of the Wodonga wastewater treatment plant, North East Water is collaborating with the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) which is responsible for management of the natural gas supply servicing Wodonga. AGIG is investigating the development of a hydrogen production facility to enable hydrogen gas to be created and injected into the natural gas grid servicing Albury and Wodonga. North East Water supports this development due to a number of potential future synergies (such as accessing “waste” oxygen from the hydrogen production for use in the wastewater treatment process) that can be explored between the projects. It is proposed that the AGIG project is developed on land currently owned by North East Water to the west of our current land holdings.

I have more questions about this project. Who do I contact?

You can contact project manager Kevin Freeman on 1300 361 622 or info@newater.com.au.

Green project precinct

Two other carbon emission reducing projects are being constructed alongside the site of the wastewater treatment plant in West Wodonga.

  • North East Water is installing a three megawatt solar farm which will provide approximately 10,000 panels utilising a single axis tracking system to increase solar generation capacity. The farm will generate enough electricity to power the nearby waste facility during daylight hours and provide surplus energy back to the electricity grid to offset power used at other North East Water sites.

    Between the 3MW solar farm and the capacity and emissions reduction project we will see the wastewater treatment plant transition from a significant importer of electricity to a net exporter of electricity, whilst reducing the Corporation’s overall greenhouse footprint by approximately 50% representing a huge step forward for our environment.
     
  • Australian Gas Infrastructure Group in partnership with Engie is also proposing a 10MW renewable hydrogen plant that will produce renewable hydrogen blended with natural gas and then supplied to customers on the existing Albury-Wodonga gas distribution network. For more detail on the project, click here and here.

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