Australian membrane water-reuse plant starts commissioning

Work has begun on commissioning and testing the first stage of the membrane-based Northern Water Plant in Corio, Australia, 70 km south‑west of Melbourne.

The Aus$ 94 million (US$ 98 million) plant will produce 2 million m³/year Class A recycled water suitable for industrial and community use.

Commissioning will be in two stages. The first, taking place in August 2012, involves pumping sewage from north Geelong and the Shell Geelong refinery to the plant via two pumping stations.

Here it will receive aerated biological treatment before being passed to the membranes. Once the biological plant is stable, the second stage of commissioning the ultrafiltration and reverse-osmosis membranes will start, scheduled for September.

The recycled water will replace drinking water used by the Shell refinery and be available for nearby Stead Park. The volume of effluent discharged to the ocean at the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant will be reduced by 10%.

The plant will be fully operational in early 2013, on time and on budget, says operator Barwon Water. Principal contractor was John Holland; Pall Corporation were contractors for the membrane plant using Toray membranes.

Funding was divided between the Australian government (Aus$ 20 million), the Victorian government (Aus$ 9 million), Shell (Aus$ 45 million) and Barwon Water (Aus$ 17.5 million).

(Updated 26 August 2012)