Work has begun on the final stage of the $250m Coffs Harbour Sewerage Strategy – the construction of a new pumping station at Sawtell and the closure of the old plant and ocean outfall.

“The city’s $250m Sewerage Strategy has been ongoing since 1997,” said Ben Lawson, Council’s Director of City Infrastructure Services. “Its aims have been to safeguard public health, provide sewerage infrastructure to serve present and future urban development, satisfy stringent environmental safeguards, protect the coastal environment and the Solitary Islands Marine Park, maximise the beneficial use of reclaimed water and ensure the work required is affordable.

“In short, to ensure residents have quality sewerage services now and into the future.

“Since 1997, Council has put in place the $96m Coffs Harbour Water Reclamation Plant, upgraded the Woolgoolga Water Reclamation Plant, connected Arrawarra, Mullaway, Moonee and Emerald to the sewer system, closed the Woolgoolga ocean outfall, built a Water Reclamation Plant at Moonee, built the Deep Sea Release for excess reclaimed water, closed the Coffs ocean outfall and linked all the water reclamation plants to our reclaimed water customers and the Deep Sea Release.

“The final piece of the puzzle is to decommission the old Sawtell sewerage treatment plant, close the existing ocean outfall and build a major pumping station and pipeline linking the pump station to the Coffs Water Reclamation Plant for processing. Closing the old Sawtell plant is going to be of significant benefit, in odour terms, to local residents, as well as ensuring that a greater volume of sewage is turned into reclaimed water for irrigation purposes. The greater the volume of reclaimed water available, the less the need for people to use potable water for irrigation – so we save even more of our most precious resource.”

The original planned decommissioning date for the existing plant at Sawtell was July 2013. However, due to land matters, resourcing and approval issues, the project is now due to be completed in mid-2014.

Tenders have already been called for the construction of the new pump station. Two, eight-kilometre pipelines to carry sewage and reclaimed water between the Sawtell facility and the Coffs Water Reclamation Plant – via the new pipe bridge – are currently under construction and are nearly finished. To cut costs, most of the design and construction – and all of the survey, investigations, approvals, contract management and land matters – for this final project have been carried out ‘in house’ by Council staff.

More information and updates on the project can be found on the Coffs Harbour City Council website:

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