TasWater Regional General Manager (North) Andrew Beswick has acknowledged there is significant work and investment needed to improve Launceston’s ageing sewerage infrastructure. But he also pointed out that upgrades have already taken place throughout the northern region.
“There are unique circumstances in Launceston and the surrounding area which impact how we deal with sewage,” Mr Beswick said.
“The combined sewerage and stormwater system within Launceston’s CBD and inner suburbs places pressure on our main sewage treatment plant and associated pump stations during heavy rainfall events. Under normal circumstances we are able to treat both sewage and stormwater prior to discharge, something which actually improves the environmental outcomes associated with stormwater.
“However, there are occasions when large volumes of stormwater in the system results in untreated discharge of sewage into the environment. Although this is not ideal and does not necessarily meet current community expectations, the system operates as originally designed and any sewage discharge is heavily diluted.”
“Considerable work continues to be undertaken to understand how we can address the broader sewage system issues in greater Launceston which have been decades in the making. The planning work we are undertaking will require community input so we can deliver effective and affordable improvements which serve the region well into the future.”
Improvements already completed or commenced include;
- $2.6 million Beaconsfield Re-Use Scheme
- $4.3 million upgrade of Queechy Sewage Pump Station
- $1.2 million to improve disinfection and screening at Newnham and Riverside sewage treatment plants; improve aeration and sludge removal at Prospect Sewage Treatment Plant
- $3 million to reduce odour emissions at Ti Tree Bend Sewage Treatment Plant; improve biosolid management and ambient monitoring
- $1.6 million to improve the operation of Longford Sewage Treatment Plant
- $2.9 million in stage one work at Deloraine Sewage Treatment Plant to improve environmental outcomes
- A further $4.5 million is budgeted to carry out additional work at Longford Sewage Treatment Plant and Deloraine Sewage Treatment Plant and consultation is underway to develop a reuse scheme at Bridport.
“We are also working in partnership with NRM North and the Tamar Estuary and Esk River (TEER) program to better understand the impact of our sewage effluent on the broader environment. This understanding is critical to ensuring that spending on improvements actually provides effective outcomes,” Mr Beswick said.
“Improvements we undertake also need to be understood in the context of other contributors, such as land run-off and degraded upper catchments, in order to improve the overall health of the rivers.”