The planned $160 million upgrade to expand the Coombabah Sewage Treatment Plant is in its final stages of commissioning, with expected capacity to be increased by 30 per cent to allow for the servicing of an additional 140,000 people. 

The City of Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate, said that the $160 million upgrades ensure that the Coombabah Sewage Treatment Plant will cater for the northern and central part of the city for many years and will service more than 480,000 people.

“This upgrade is part of a $600 million planned investment in upgrading sewage treatment plants to increase capacity and reduce the environmental impact,” Mr Tate said. 

“This is vital infrastructure as we plan for our future population which we know will grow significantly in coming years, particularly in the north.”

Mr Tate said that the project also included $6 million to improve the plant’s odour control unit.

The planned upgrades include:

  • Coombabah Sewage Treatment Plant – $70 million – will become the centralised facility to manage and process biosolids from Coombabah, Pimpama, and Merrimac. This facility will reduce the volume and improve dryness of the product. Contract expected to be awarded in late 2025.
  • Coombabah Sewage Treatment Plant – $100 million – new infrastructure includes primary sedimentation tanks for processes downstream of existing preliminary treatment facility, pumping facility and other process intensification technologies. Contract expected to be awarded in 2028.
  • Pimpama Sewage Treatment Plant – $140 million – doubling capacity and adding primary treatment facility (screenings and grit removal), bioreactor, two clarifiers and modifications to existing tertiary treatment facility. Contract expected to be awarded in mid-2024.
  • Merrimac Sewage Treatment Plant – $140 million – can cater for 90,000 additional people. Contract expected to be awarded in late-2024.
  • Elanora Sewage Treatment Plant – $77 million – increasing capacity by about 25,000 which will ensure serviceability for the next 20 years. Contract expected to be awarded in 2024.

In May 2023, a cogeneration facility was completed at the Coombabah facility which provides about 300KW of power to the site.

This power is created using methane gas generated from the sewage treatment process to produce electricity which then supplies energy to the plant’s equipment thereby reducing Energex costs and minimising emissions and greenhouse gases.

Featured image: An aerial view of the Coombabah Treatment Plant. Image credit: City of Gold Coast.

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