25 August 2017 update:

Good news; Muswellbrook Shire Council is progressing well with the Construction of the new RWTW.

Downer Utilities Australia was awarded the contract in May 2017 and has to date established on site and completed the majority of the bulk earthworks activities. Initial concrete pours commenced in early August and steel reinforcement has been placed for the Intermittent decanting extended aeration (IDEA) process tank structures.

The big single slab pour is planned for early September 2017, where the post tensioned slab will be constructed. To enable this continuous single concrete pour, which is envisaged to take 10hrs, planning has been performed including traffic routes for the delivery of concrete to the works site, at the corner of Skellatar Stock Route and Denman Rd.

Weather permitting, it is planned that Concrete trucks will be hauling concrete to site via Thomas Mitchel Drive and Denman Rd on 05 September 2017 between 3:00am and 12:30pm.

It is not expected that the delivery of concrete will cause challenged to motorists, nevertheless, motorists are advised to use caution when traveling in the vicinity of the Thomas Mitchel Drive, Denman Rd and Skellatar Stock route. Traffic control will be available and truck movements will be monitored on the day.

Site being prepared for concrete foundation pouring

 

19 September 2016 update:

Muswellbrook Shire Council has finalised the detailed design for the proposed (RWTW).  

The process for the engagement of Contractors to construct the new RWTW commenced via an Early Tender Involvement process in Mid 2016. Council has approved of 5 shortlisted Contractors who have been provided with tender documentation and specifications to provide tender responses before the end of October 2016. 

 

Local contractors and suppliers are encouraged to visit the following site and enquire with the main contractors on what services are needed and how they might get involved in the works.

New Recycle Water Treatment Works - Local Content for Resources and Labour

The pre-construction contract for the cleaning and desludging of Pond 1 has progressed well up to this point with the total clean-out of the pond on which area the new RWTW will be constructed.

The Contractor for the main construction works is expected to be appointed before the end of this year to start the construction of the main works in early 2017 with completion in early 2018.

The RWTW is mainly funded by MSC, with a portion of funding provided by the NSW Government Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIIF).


History

The current Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) started operating in the early 1930s to treat sewage received from the town of Muswellbrook. It was upgraded in the 1960’s and began to supply recycled water to the Muswellbrook Golf Club in early 1990, pre-dating the release of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling. The now aging plant is no longer sustainable for the growing Muswellbrook population.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority, have further issued a requirement in the current STP licence to upgrade the existing STP to meet more stringent quality standards.

Community feedback received during consultation in December 2015 was considered for inclusion in the Recycle Water Treatment Works (RWTW) design. Key findings found that the community would like to see noise and odour control, use of best technology and high quality treated water as key features of the upgrade, with retention of a portion of the ponds as a bird sanctuary.

Muswellbrook Shire Council is in the process of finalising the detailed design for the proposed (RWTW). The design has been developed into a 3-dimensional model as illustrated in the image below.

The new RWTW will utilise an Intermittent Decanted Extended Aeration (IDEA) system and will have updated technology, odour control and improved recycled water quality. It is proposed to start operating in approximately two years and once the upgrade is completed, the current STP will be decommissioned.

The project has commenced enabling works on site with the desludging of Pond 1. These works will be completed within 3 months.

The procurement of the main works Contractor has commenced via an Early Tender Involvement process. The Contractor is expected to be appointed by the end of this year to start the construction of the new works.

The recycled water treatment works is being funded by MSC with a significant funding portion provided by the NSW Government Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIIF).


Background

What is recycled water used for?

Recycled water can be used for a range of purposes, on the condition the water has been treated prior to use. These include:

  • Urban and municipal environments
  • Households, golf courses and recreational parks
  • Industry
  • Washing and cooling in power stations and mills
  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture, forestry, pasture, flowers, viticulture and sugar cane
  • Fire fighting
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Municipal landscapes
  • Dual-pipe urban uses
  • Environmental flows and wetlands

In Muswellbrook, currently 100% of the recycled water is used for irrigation and mining activities.

What is being planned?

On behalf of Muswellbrook Shire Council, the NSW Public Works has prepared an environmental assessment, known as a Review of Environmental Factors (REF), to construct and operate a new RWTW at Muswellbrook.

In 2014 Council endorsed locating the new RWTW on the same property, immediately to the south of the existing STP. This was because Council could use existing infrastructure and avoid constructing additional pipelines to deliver sewage to an alternative location, significantly reducing the overall cost of the new RWTW.

The specific location of the RWTW means that pond 1 of the existing STP needs to be emptied, and decommissioned before any infrastructure is built for the RWTW. Three ponds were deliberately built for the existing STP and will not be required for the new RWTW

Key features of the Recycle Water Treatment Works include:

  • Higher quality recycled water
  • Odour and noise control
  • The new facility will be located further away from residential areas
  • It will cater for projected population, industrial and commercial growth in Muswellbrook to the year 2046.

Using recycled water

Council supports the use of recycled water and encourages local companies to bid for recycled water contracts via a tender process.

The provision of recycled water is provided and will meet the requirements of the Australian Guidelines for Recycled Water 2006 and the recycled water guidance document for Recycled Water Management Systems 2015. These guidelines can be viewed at the NSW Office of water website, go to www.water.nsw.gov.au/urban-water/recycling-water/sewage.

Recycled water cannot be used for drinking water however, it is currently being 100 per cent used for non-drinking purposes by agreement with Muswellbrook Golf Club and HVEC/BHP Billiton Mt Arthur Mine where its uses include irrigation, coal preparation and dust suppression.

This means that, except during some extreme rain / wet weather events, there will continue to be no discharge to rivers or streams from the new RWTW.

Treated and disinfected recycled water is pumped from the treatment plant on Skellatar Stock Route to customers via two reuse pumping mains, one along Thomas Mitchell Drive and the other along Skellatar Stock Route and Rutherford Road.  

The below slideshow was featured at the community information session held on Tuesday 15 December 2015.

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Financial Support

Funding for the new RWTW will be sourced from Council funds, with a significant portion provided by the NSW Government Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIFF).

Funding for the new RWTW will be sourced from Council funds, with a significant portion provided by the NSW Government Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIFF).

Frequently Asked Questions

  Who is designing the plant?

Council is supported by NSW Public Works and has contracted Aurecon to design the new RWTW. Aurecon has a diverse team of highly regarded water engineering and other specialists. Aurecon is committed to working with Council to deliver a well-designed and innovative solution.

 

  How can I provide feedback?

We thank the community for their feedback at the information session and through the online survey. This feedback was taken into consideration when finalising the detailed design for the RWTW and was included in the final REF submissions report with a summary of the community and stakeholder feedback. The REF submissions report will be available late 2016.

 

  What is recycled water?

Recycled water (effluent) is treated wastewater that has been through a rigorous treatment process so it can be re-used for non-drinking purposes.

Muswellbrook Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) processes wastewater from households, which is made up of solids, liquids and paper from toilet use, bath and shower water, dishwashing and laundry water.

This wastewater is then piped by gravity to one of Muswellbrook’s thirteen Sewer Pump Stations, where it is collected, chemically treated to control odour, and sent via pressure mains to the STP. Wastewater flowing into STP averages 2,700KL per day in dry weather.

 

  What is it used for?

Recycled water can be used for a range of purposes, on the condition the water has been through a rigorous treatment process prior to use. These include:

  • Urban and municipal environments
  • Households, golf courses and recreational parks
  • Industry
  • Washing and cooling in power stations and mills
  • Agriculture
  • Horticulture, forestry, pasture, flowers, viticulture and sugar cane
  • Fire fighting
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Municipal landscapes
  • Dual-pipe urban uses
  • Environmental flows and wetlands

In Muswellbrook, currently 100% of the recycled water is used for irrigation and mining activities.

 

  How is recycled water regulated?

Muswellbrook Shire Council abides by Australian standards for recycled water and is regulated by the Environment Protection Authority, NSW Office of Water and NSW Health.

 

  Why is the sewage treatment plant being decommissioned?

The current STP started operating in the early 1930s to treat sewage received from the town of Muswellbrook. It was upgraded in the 1960’s and began to supply recycle water to the Muswellbrook Golf Club in early 1990 for non-drinking purposes. The now aging plant is no longer sustainable for the growing Muswellbrook population. The NSW Environment Protection Authority, have further issued a requirement in the current STP licence to upgrade the existing STP to meet more stringent quality standards.

 

  Will the odour issue be fixed?

We understand the existing STP has caused some odour issues. The new plant will have updated technology, improved recycled water quality and odour control infrastructure to ensure that Australian standards are met.

 

  How long until the RWTW is built?

The new plant is expected to take two to three years to build and during this time the STP will remain operational. The STP will be decommissioned once the RWTW is operational.

 

  Where will the RWTW be located?

In 2014 Council endorsed locating the new RWTW on the same property, immediately to the south of the existing STP. This was because Council could use existing infrastructure and avoid constructing additional pipelines to deliver sewage to an alternative location, significantly reducing the overall cost of the new RWTW.

The specific location of the RWTW means that pond 1 of the existing STP needs to be emptied and decommissioned before any infrastructure is built for the RWTW. Three ponds were deliberately built for the existing STP and will not be required for the new RWTW.

 

  What are the key features of the RWTW?

  • Higher quality recycled water
  • Odour control because there is an odour treatment facility inside the RWTW
  • Less noise because the pumps will be inside the facility
  • The new facility will be located further away from residential areas
  • It will cater for projected population, industrial and commercial growth in Muswellbrook to the year 2046.

  Who is funding the upgrade?

Funding for the new RWTW will be sourced from Council funds, with a significant portion provided by the NSW Government Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIFF).

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