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An upgrade to Murray Bridge’s wastewater network is now entering the final stages and is expected to commence operations by mid-2020.

The upgrade includes the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and solar panel installation at the treatment plant site, as well as three new pump stations.

Construction, as part of the $52 million project, began in October 2018, and the new plant and all associated infrastructure is expected to begin operating as part of the wider local sewer system within the next two months.

SA Water’s General Manager of Asset, Operations and Delivery, Mark Gobbie, said following the recent completion of mechanical and electrical testing, all elements of the new system are being tested, to ensure a quality end product.

“We are pumping sewage from the existing treatment plant, all the way through the network, including a newly-laid eight kilometres of underground sewer main and three new pump stations, to the new treatment plant in Brinkley, located just outside the Murray Bridge township,” Mr Gobbie said.

“Testing this whole process before taking the existing plant offline enables us to refine the treatment process at the new plant.

“We will keep doing this until everything is running as it should be, after which the new plant will solely start receiving sewage from the properties of local residents and businesses, for treatment and reuse.”

The Brinkley wastewater treatment plant, will have the capability to treat an extra two million litres of sewage a day, and will also incorporate an odour control unit – designed to remove 99.95 per cent of odour from the plant – and enhanced treatment processes.

“A biological process called a ‘moving bed biofilm reactor’ helps to break down sewage into sludge in a more compact and efficient way than conventional methods,” Mr Gobie said.

“Sludge is eventually turned into an organic material called biosolids, which can be used like compost to improve soils and some crops.

“To help jump-start this biological process, tankers of sludge from our Bird in Hand Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Adelaide Hills have been transported over the past week to the Brinkley site.”

Around 420 ground-mounted solar panels are installed at the treatment plant site, which will ultimately generate 150kW hours of electricity a day, helping to power the facility.

Work is also well underway on an art installation integrated into the design of one of the new pump stations, and is expected to be complete by mid-2020.

The installation focuses on sharing Ngarrindjeri culture and their connection to water with the wider community with an interpretive walking trail through a landscaped area around the pump station and a sculpture of Kungari (black swan) eggs being the key features.

Landscaping and the planting of several native plant species is also continuing at the pump station site, and minor civil works will shortly be undertaken at the treatment plant.

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