Fifteen members attended the Sydney Water guided tour of its Liverpool Water Recycling Plant on 2 March to learn how the sewage collected from the upper Georges River catchment areas is treated and recycled or discharged to protect the health of our River.
We started with coffee and muffins and a comprehensive briefing on the treatment processes, operations and the Plant’s place in the overall wastewater network and the Georges River basin in particular. The interest shown and questions asked meant this briefing extended for nearly an hour.
We were then guided around the plant starting at the inlet, then following the step by step treatment process, noting the birdlife including black swans on the holding ponds, to the point of discharge of the treated water. Interestingly, normal operations see this pumped to the North Georges River Submain, which flows through Oatley on its way to Malabar, for discharge to the ocean. Occasionally, treated water is supplied to the Liverpool to Ashfield recycled water pipeline for use by businesses along the way. During wet weather, when flow into the Plant can be 5 or 6 times greater, and under specifically licensed conditions, effluent can be discharged straight into the Georges River.
With modern technology for maximum efficiency the Plant can be operated largely from the control office on a 24/7 basis by a small team. It was noted that 40% of the plant’s energy needs are sourced from onsite cogeneration systems using the gas generated in the sludge digestion tanks to produce electricity. Biosolids resulting from the treatment process are all recycled and ultimately sold for use as compost, fertiliser and on mine rehabilitation sites.
One particular problem brought to our attention was the widespread use of wet wipes, sometimes labelled ‘flushable’, but they are not. Only toilet paper breaks up as required. Other materials cause problems for the machinery and the treatment process. CLICK HERE For more info
We were very impressed by, and thank the staff for the warm welcome and their obvious dedication and passion for their work.