A Great Example of Circular Economy
The Gippsland Water Factory is a wastewater treatment and recycling plant that processes 35 million litres of residential and industrial wastewater each day from more than 15,000 households and businesses in the Gippsland region of Victoria. The first of its kind in Australia, the plant produces about eight million litres of high-quality recycled water daily that is sold to Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill for use in its industrial processes. The remaining highly treated wastewater is distributed along the regional outfall sewer and used for irrigation.
From Advising to Engineering
When WSP first began working on the project in 2001, the focus was to develop a management strategy to solve some immediate environmental issues (especially odour) associated with Gippsland Water’s regional outfall sewer. However, over several successive stages, the project's focus widened to the long-term sustainability of the entire region’s water supply, and the variety of benefits the plant could deliver.
By selling recycled water to Australian Paper, the Gippsland Water Factory frees up an equivalent amount of freshwater — about 3 billion litres annually — from the region’s rivers and reservoirs—enough water to service a town of 40,000 people for an entire year. The project’s carbon footprint was constrained from the start and design decisions were guided using carbon emission footprinting. The target was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from a theoretical benchmark set during concept design, but the actual result demonstrates a 38 percent reduction.
WSP was one of four companies (including Gippsland Water) comprising a project alliance to deliver the project, which began operations in 2010.
In 2011, Gippsland Water Factory won three Banksia Environmental Awards:
Water category: Gippsland Water Factory
Education category: Vortex Centre and associated ‘Water Wonders’ education program
Overall: Origin Gold Banksia Award