Sewage Treatment

Sewage Treatment

SA Water is a leader in sewage treatment. Every year we manage and treat millions of litres of sewage for South Australians. Our three major wastewater treatment plants at Bolivar, Glenelg and Christies Beach process more than 250 megalitres of sewage every day. That's about five full baths every second.

The treatment process recycles the treated water as well as the organic material that comes out of the water.

How is my sewage treated?

Your sewage goes through a number of stages as part of the treatment process. Treated well, we ensure sewage doesn't just become waste. Watch our video below to find out how we do this.

Recycling and Biosolids

It's not just water our treatment plants recycle. We also recycle gases and the biosolids that come out of the treatment process.

Watch our video below to find out how we convert these materials into useful products.

We recycle methane into electricity

The bacteria used in some of our treatment processes create gases such as methane. We capture that methane and use it to power the wastewater treatment plants in metropolitan Adelaide.

The treatment plants across Adelaide capture enough methane to create 15 gigawatts per hour of power per year. That's about half of all of the energy needs for all three plants.

We recycle water for many uses

Recycled water is water that is treated to an appropriate standard for use. Recycled water is used for irrigating farmland, parks and outdoor sports grounds. Some suburbs also have recycled water to be used on gardens, in toilets and for washing cars. Our recycled water is also used to grow the bamboo that feeds Adelaide Zoo's pandas, Wang Wang and Funi.

Read more about our recycled water supply here

We recycle biosolids for farming

We collect processed organic materials and treat them to make them safe for people to handle. We call these materials 'biosolids' and farmers use them to improve their soils and crops. Demand for biosolids produced by our Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant currently exceeds our annual output of 35,000 tonnes.

South Australian farmers have been using biosolids from the Bolivar Plant since the 1960s.

Who can access biosolids for commercial use?

Farmers who want to use biosolids must produce either dry land crops like cereals, or irrigated permanent crops like citrus or vines.

Commercial landscapers working on significant projects may also be able to use biosolids.

How much do biosolids cost?

SA Water supplies the biosolids free of charge. The only cost to users is that of transporting the solids from Bolivar to an external property. 

For more information

You can read more about biosolids at the Australian & New Zealand Biosolids Partnership.

For information about using South Australian-produced biosolids for your farm or landscaping projects, please contact us

Help us help you

There are lots of things you can do to make it easier for us to treat your waste. There are a number of good tips in our brochure: Wastewater...It's Everyone's Business [PDF, 478 kB]. By following the tips outlined in the brochure, you will be doing your bit to help keep treatment costs down and will also prevent potentially expensive sewage problems on your property.

Watch our video below for more tips on how you can help.


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  • Henley Beach South
  • 18/12/2017
  • Water Off
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  • 19/12/2017
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