To mark World Environment Day, Unitywater today officially launched the new Maleny Sewage Treatment Plant at a community event celebrating the completion of this $17 million investment.
The Maleny Sewage Treatment plant was officially opened by Unitywater CEO George Theo at an event attended by Director-General of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Jon Black, local Councillor Jenny McKay and representatives from 10 local community groups.
Interested residents had the opportunity to tour the new facility as well as Unitywater’s 30 hectare irrigated forest and wetlands, a key component of the overall upgrade project.
Unitywater is focused on investing in cost-effective approaches to treat sewage that will deliver better outcomes for the community and the environment.
Unitywater’s CEO, George Theo said the upgrade of the 32-year-old plant was an example of green engineering at its best, delivering environmental innovation and financial savings to the community.
“Compared to other options, the innovative approach we chose to upgrade this plant demonstrated savings of up to $18 million over its service life and will help to keep bills as low as possible for our customers.
“Wetlands are like nature’s kidneys, acting as filters trapping sediment and recycling nutrients. By incorporating them into the upgrade we are using natural processes of vegetation and soils to improve water quality, which is not only practical, but self-sustaining,” Mr. Theo said.
Maleny’s old sewage treatment plant was last upgraded in 1989 with the capacity to service 2000 people. The new plant, which was designed and constructed by contractor Monadelphous, has the capacity to service more than 5000 residents.
Unitywater Project Manager Andrew Mills said the new facility delivers a range of benefits to the community and environment.
“Three and a half years in the making, the new plant will help to protect the current and future health of the environment and community, while the forest and wetlands have transformed a section of an old dairy farm into an important habitat for flora and fauna,” Mr Mills said.
Unitywater worked with Sunshine Coast Regional Council, local bushcare groups and the community to develop parts of the forest and wetlands system and align them with the Maleny Community Precinct Master Plan. This includes walking tracks and planting zones for the community to enjoy.
Traditional owners of the land, the Jinibara people, have also played an active role, working hand-in-hand with Unitywater to ensure the heritage of the land was respected during construction and artefacts of cultural significance protected.
Mr Theo said Unitywater would invest an estimated $78 million in 2014-15 to support the ongoing delivery of water and sewerage services for its customers.
He said the capital works program for next financial year for the Sunshine Coast also includes the completion of the $46.5 million upgrade of the Nambour Sewage Treatment Plant in November and approximately $7.7 million annually across our service area for programs to replace meters, hydrants and valves.
“This is part of the five-year forecast spend for 2014-15 to 2018-19 which will see about $700 million invested in infrastructure needed to cater for population growth and to meet strict environmental standards,” Mr Theo said.