Biosolids plant wins Banksia award

Barwon Water’s biosolids drying project at Black Rock has won the Sustainable Water Management category at the 2014 Banksia Sustainability Awards.

The award recognises “leadership and innovation in assuring continued environment and community access to quality freshwater resources and vibrant marine environments”.

The facility, which is operated by Plenary Environment and Water Infrastructure Group as a public-private partnership, is located adjacent to Barwon Water’s Black Rock water reclamation plant and converts biosolids – a by-product of the sewage treatment process – into nutrient-rich farm fertiliser.

The Black Rock water reclamation plant is the Geelong region’s largest sewage treatment and water recycling facility and produces almost 140 tonnes of biosolids every day. Before the drying facility, biosolids were transported in closed trucks to large drying bays in Werribee to dry in the sun and wind before being transported for use as fertiliser.

Since beginning operation, the plant has resulted in 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and cut heavy truck movements by 1,000 a year.

Construction and commissioning of the $77 million fully enclosed drying facility was completed in September, 2012. It is the first of its kind in Australia and the largest of its type in the southern hemisphere.

The plant can treat 60,000 tonnes of biosolids a year from the Black Rock water reclamation plant and several other smaller regional plants operated by Barwon Water.

The Banksia Foundation is a well-established not-for-profit organisation dedicated to working with industry and community to focus attention on environmental excellence and sustainability.