Joint venture wins Perth groundwater replenishment contract

Western Australia’s Water Corporation has awarded a contract to design, construct, and commission a full-scale advanced water replenishment plant (AWRP) to a joint venture between CH2M Hill,and engineering company Thiess. The project will help secure Perth’s drinking water supplies through 2060

The Perth plant will be the first full scale groundwater replenishment project in Australia and a major step in progressing the Water Corporation’s strategy for climate resiliency. “Groundwater replenishment provides a secure, rainfall independent water source and will be an integral part of northern Perth’s future water security,” said Chris Morris, CH2M Hill’s Australia and New Zealand geography manager.

Construction on the first stage of the plant will begin later this month. The plant, which will inject highly treated wastewater into Perth’s unground aquifers, will have an initial capacity of 14 billion litres – double the project’s original capacity, with an option to expand to 28 billion litres in the future.

The Water Corporation undertook a complex groundwater replenishment trial from 2010-2012 at the Beenyup wastewater treatment plant site to assess the technical and social feasibility of constructing such an advanced wastewater recycling plant to produce water that was suitable for replenishing groundwater.

The successful trial involved treating some 3.5 billion litres of treated effluent from Beenyup using ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection and storing the water in an underground aquifer to be further filtered by natural processes.

The new AWRP will be built on the same site as the trial, in Craigie. The project is expected to be in commissioning by October 2016. Once commissioned, the plant will help Perth meet its future drinking water needs through 2060.