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2014 Winner - Environmental Protection

Barwon Water, Plenary Environment and Water Infrastructure Group

The Barwon Water Biosolids Management Project

The Barwon Water Biosolids Management Project provides a sustainable, long-term management solution for the beneficial use of 100 per cent of the biosolids produced at Barwon Water’s seven water reclamation plants.

Previously wet biosolids (85 per cent water) were transported to be stored and air dried. The Thermal Drying Facility, commissioned in September 2012 as part of the project, decreased Barwon Water’s sewage treatment emissions by 30 per cent in 2012–13.

The small footprint, fully enclosed thermal drying facility is the first of its kind in Australia to achieve T1 Treatment Grade pelletised biosolids and is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It produces very dry pellets (more than 90 per cent dry solids) suitable for farm fertiliser that can be safely handled, easily transported and reused immediately after processing.

The facility was delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). The PPP approach was critical in introducing a new technology to Australia and delivering this Australian first.

Barwon Water has contracted delivery and operation of the project to Plenary Environment who in turn contracted the operations and maintenance to Water Infrastructure Group for a 20-year term.

The Thermal Drying Facility provides a model for Australia for sustainable biosolids management to address the environmental issues associated with biosolids stockpiling, disposal and reuse.