In an Australian first, South East Water is using solar technology to power a pressure sewer system on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

Solar is now being used to power a pressure sewer system at the Truemans Road Recreation Reserve in Tootgarook, future-proofing sports club facilities for the local community, and opening up new possibilities for the provision of wastewater facilities in remote areas.

The move to solar-powered sewers is part of South East Water’s Peninsula ECO project which involves the connection of more than 16,500 properties on the Mornington Peninsula to an intelligent pressure sewer network able to cope with the region’s peak season usage.

The project is also tackling the issue of failing septic tanks which can cause pollution of ground-water and waterways.

Flows are remotely managed on an individual property basis, removing peaks and troughs, and enabling the use of smaller pipes.

With Mornington Peninsula Shire Council facing repairs to an ageing septic tank system serving the reserve’s busy club rooms, South East Water saw an opportunity to utilise solar powered pressure sewer technology, which uses solar PV panels as the source of energy for the pressure sewer pump and OneBox controller.

The project demonstrated that solar power supported by battery technology can be used to pump wastewater from the pressure sewer holding tank to the reticulated network, and onto the water recycling plant, regardless of the time of day or season.

Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Bev Colomb, said, “The solar-powered solution ensures the reserve can continue to be enjoyed by the many sports clubs and community groups based there.

“It’s a win for community and the environment, and we’re delighted to have played a role in proving this ground-breaking technology and welcome working together on future innovative projects.”

Managing Director for South East Water, Kevin Hutchings, said the Tootgarook project highlighted the benefits that solar-powered pressure sewer technology could deliver in remote and rural communities.

“Areas with unreliable power, or no power at all, can still take advantage of pressure sewer technology, and the environmental and cost benefits it delivers. It’s an important step forward in improving the liveability and sustainability of our communities.”

Member for Eastern Victoria, Daniel Mulino, said the project delivered benefits for the local community and the environment.

“The use of solar-powered, intelligent sewer technology will deliver significant benefits for residents of the Mornington Peninsula by extending access to pressure sewerage services.

“This cutting edge technology will also result in gains for the environment as more equipment will be powered by renewable energy.”

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