Dubbo Regional Council has commissioned and installed a new pump transfer station at the Dubbo Sewage Treatment Plant that will see the rapid fill and turnaround of water carting trucks used for dust suppression at roadworks and land development sites around the region.
In a safe and efficient practice that has been in place for some time, treated effluent is ideal for operational use such as dust suppression and irrigation, with the latter being the biggest user of Dubbo’s treated effluent.
Large commercial industries and agriculture located near the sewage treatment plant have drawn and continue to draw water from the large holding ponds for many years for irrigation use.
CEO Dubbo Regional Council, Michael McMahon, said that when people hear the phrase ‘treated effluent’ it instantly conjures up images and misconceptions in people’s minds.
“The reality is, the treated (effluent) water that Council is repurposing is actually very good and is regularly tested to ensure it is fit for purpose for alternative uses, such as these,” Mr McMahon said.
“In 2019, considering all the environmental requirements, regulations, technology and best-in-the-world practices that places like Australia employ to create treated effluent for discharge back in the system, the stigma of ‘effluent’ should be somewhat obsolete.
“Given the need and demand for water in construction, farming and industry etc, having treated effluent at-hand in times of extreme drought is a far, far better proposition than expending precious water supplies on such activities as dust suppression.”
There are a number of significant works currently underway around the region that require water for dust suppression. Limiting or removing the need to use potable (drinking) water and replacing it with treated effluent is high on Council’s agenda. The new pump transfer station will further reduce the burden on town water supply while providing a rapid filling point for water carting trucks.
“The government has asked big water users like Councils to look at innovative and smarter ways of conserving water,” Mr McMahon said.
“While treated effluent hasn’t yet made its way into the community’s everyday psyche or mainstream usage, there is absolutely no reason why a safe and plentiful water source like this shouldn’t be used to reduce the effects of dust during construction rather than use our precious drinking water supplies.”
Dubbo Regional Council trucks carrying or operating treated effluent will be clearly identified by signage located on the front and back of the vehicle. Effluent used for dust suppression has restrictions on its use, such as not being discharged in or around stormwater catchments.