Major works are expected to commence in coming days on a $52 million upgrade of Murray Bridge’s sewerage network, subject to final development approvals.
Over the next 18 or so months, SA Water contractor John Holland will lead construction of a new treatment plant and four pump stations, as well as installation of around 18 kilometres of new underground pipe to connect the plant to the existing sewerage network.
SA Water’s General Manager of Asset Operations and Delivery Mark Gobbie said the new plant will be able to treat an additional two million litres of sewage a day, and will also incorporate odour control facilities and enhanced treatment processes.
“This includes a biological process called a ‘moving bed biofilm reactor’, with Murray Bridge one of the first non-industrial wastewater treatment plants in Australia to use it,” Mark said.
“This technology is able to break down sewage into sludge in a more compact and efficient way than conventional methods. The sludge is eventually turned into an organic material called biosolids, which can be used like compost to improve soils and some crops.
“As with the existing treatment plant, recycled water from the site will also continue to be put to productive use for irrigation of local Department of Defence land.”
The existing wastewater treatment facility has been operating for nearly 50 years, and over this time the population and needs of the Murray Bridge community have changed significantly.
“We need to make sure our local operations can continue to sustain this growth and activity,” Mark said.
“Incorporating community needs and feedback into our plans has been an important part of this project.
“We have worked closely with several local groups in the lead-up to construction beginning, including the Rural City of Murray Bridge, local Ngarrindjeri people and properties along the new pipeline route such as Unity College School.
“Community concerns about odour and potential environmental impacts played a key role in determining the location of the new treatment plant. The new site is approximately 10 kilometres south of the Murray Bridge township, away from the River Murray floodplain and residential areas.
“We are also committed to continue engaging with the community through construction, including providing updates on the project’s progression and opportunities for local school students to tour the new site in early 2019.
“This is a chance particularly for those students interested in working in roles such as construction or engineering to learn about the skills and expertise needed to carry out these works safely and successfully.”
Construction work – at the treatment plant site and along the new pipeline route – will typically take place from Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm, and on Saturday between 7.30am and 5pm.
“Our contractor will make every effort to minimise construction impacts which will result from the operation of heavy machinery and frequent movement of trucks and other vehicles to and from our work sites,” Mark said.
“This includes the use of water carts and street sweepers to manage dust within worksites, and considered planning of any necessary vegetation removal.
“For the safety of our workers, local residents and people travelling through the area, temporary traffic management will also be in place during several stages of the project, on Virgo, Ridge, Jervois and Pfeiffer Roads.
“If restrictions to driveway access are required during works, we will provide advance notice to affected property owners. The project will however not require any interruption to our customers’ sewerage services.”
The gradual decommissioning of the existing wastewater treatment plant adjacent the Murray Bridge Marina is expected to begin once the new facility is operational in early 2020.
Options for the future use of the current treatment plant site will continue to be discussed with key local stakeholders in coming months.
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