The Victorian Government has announced a $130 million investment in new, energy-efficient water treatment and recycling infrastructure for the Mornington Peninsula.

The upgrade will support population growth, protect the local environment and maximise recycled water production for local businesses.

South East Water has appointed the John Holland SUEZ Beca (JHSB) joint venture to undertake a major upgrade of its Boneo Water Recycling Plant (WRP), delivering a range of innovative treatment technologies designed to reduce energy consumption in the water recycling process. The upgrade will be delivered through a design, build, operate and maintain contract, with JHSB operating the plant for ten years to enable knowledge sharing and collaboration.

The upgrade will include the capture of biogas generated during the treatment process to power the plant’s operations, and implementation of the nitrite-shunt nutrient removal process, an emerging technology which significantly reduces the electricity required to treat the wastewater.

Both technologies will assist in reducing South East Water’s reliance on grid electricity in the treatment process, taking the utility one step closer to achieving its emissions reductions target of 45 per cent by 2025.

The plant’s upgrade will enable an additional 16,000 properties in the area to connect to South East Water’s Peninsula ECO scheme, a reticulated pressure sewer network helping to replace septic tanks and mini treatment plants, a known cause of groundwater and waterway pollution on the southern peninsula.

The upgrade will also support the large seasonal spikes in both sewage inflows – during the summer months, peak flows into the Boneo WRP increase by over 50 per cent – and recycled water use, with local farmers relying on Class A water from the plant for irrigation during the summer months.

South East Water has engaged with a broad range of community and stakeholder groups throughout the planning process. This includes a partnership with Melbourne Water and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council to revitalise a section of the Tootgarook Wetlands, adjacent to the plant, which is home to over 120 different bird species, some of which are threatened or endangered. Already more than 57,000 new plants have been planted.

“The Boneo Water Recycling Plant upgrade will support the continued growth of the Mornington Peninsula as a place to live, work and play, while helping to maintain its pristine environment,” Terri Benson, Managing Director at South East Water, said.

“It will also move us significantly closer to our emissions reduction targets, and our commitment to customers to protect our environment.”

It is expected that 160 new jobs and ten new apprenticeships will be created for the design, build operation and maintenance of the plant. South East Water anticipates works to commence in March 2019.

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