New wetlands play part in water treatment

Treated water from the Maleny Sewage Treatment Plant in Queensland has begun flowing into newly created wetlands, just in time for World Wetlands Day.

The water began flowing as part of the commissioning process of Unitywater’s $18 million upgrade of the Maleny Sewage Treatment Plant that incorporates the newly constructed wetlands as part of the treatment process.

A sophisticated membrane bioreactor at the plant is now providing greatly improved filtration of Maleny’s treated effluent before it is pumped through 1500 metres of purple pipeline to water the wetland.

Simon Taylor, Executive Manager, Infrastructure Planning and Capital Delivery at Unitywater, said wetlands naturally reduce nutrient levels and improve water quality, making them an environmentally sustainable and cost efficient way to further treat wastewater.

“Wetland vegetation and soils act as Earth’s kidneys, filtering out nutrients, pollutants and sediments from water passing through,” he said.

“By integrating wetlands into the sewage treatment process, we are improving treatment standards while creating natural habitats for flora and fauna to benefit the environment and community.”

Unitywater’s role in the Maleny Community Precinct includes working with the local community to plant an irrigated forest uphill from the new wetlands, further enhancing the precinct’s biodiversity and public amenity.

The utility is also incorporating wetlands as a natural treatment system at its sewage treatment plants in Cooroy and Coolum.

“Unitywater is committed to improving efficiency and environmental sustainability of our operations to keep costs as low as possible for our customers,” Mr Taylor said. “World Wetlands Day is a great time to celebrate the achievements of these projects, which show green engineering at its best.”

World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on 2 February and recognises the important role wetlands play in our environment.

The Maleny Community Precinct is expected to open to the public when the forest becomes established.

 

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