Hunter Water has begun construction on a major $24 million upgrade to its Tanilba Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant in Port Stephens.

The upgrade will help ensure sustainable growth in the area by meeting the needs of the growing local population whilst also delivering environmental outcomes for decades to come.

The project aims to improve the reliability and performance of the plant.

It is hoped that delivering the project will mean the plant can reliably service the growing Tilligerry Peninsula population until 2040.

Hunter Water’s Acting Chief Investment Officer, Stuart Horvath, said the upgrade involved construction of a larger capacity plant, with modern, improved treatment processes such as a new UV disinfection system.

“This will help deliver even better environmental outcomes by improving the quality of treated wastewater that is released into waterways, as well as ensuring that we continue to meet the requirements of our Environment Protection Licence (EPL),” Mr Horvath said.

In addition to benefiting the local community, the Tanilba Bay upgrade has also provided a helping hand to the Port Stephens koala population, with support from Hunter Water’s contract partner, Downer.

Downer Senior Project Manager Chris Frost said the two companies worked together to look for opportunities for reuse, so it was an easy decision when they found an opportunity to donate some foliage to two local organisations.

“Part of the project has involved removing some trees from the site to cater for the additional infrastructure. Rather than being turned into mulch, we reached out to Oakvale Wildlife Park and Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary to provide some Eucalyptus robusta as koala feed,” Mr Frost said.

“We’re really pleased to have been able to make this donation to support these organisations and assist in providing additional habitat for our native wildlife.

The Tanilba Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade project is on track to be completed in mid-2021.

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