17 Sep 2020
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – A little-known sustainability success in southwest Victoria that has been supplying unique fertiliser to Victoria’s agriculture industry for eight years is now supplying across Australia.
The $77 million Barwon Water Biosolids Management public-private partnership in Black Rock near Geelong has been turning a waste by-product into high-grade fertiliser for Victoria’s agriculture industry since 2012.
The facility uses an innovative thermal drying process to treat wastewater and sewerage, turning it into T1-grade fertiliser, the highest treatment grade possible under EPA guidelines.
The resulting pallets, known as prill, can then be used as a nutrient-rich farm fertiliser or even a fossil fuel replacement.
Distribution partner Ferti-Tech has expanded its distribution network beyond Victoria to now include primary producers in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
Having a nationwide network of customers, such as the vegetable seedling industry, provides the opportunity for year-round distribution of the waste by-product.
Barwon Water General Manager of Infrastructure Shaun Cumming said the facility was an important part of Barwon Water’s Strategy 2030 aim to produce zero waste.
“The facility places Barwon Water at the forefront of responsible biosolids management in Australia and is an example of how we are optimising the benefits of our resources to help grow the regional economy as we continue to provide high quality, secure and affordable water and sewerage services,” Mr Cumming said.
Plenary Chief Operating Officer Glenn Hay said another environmentally-sustainable initiative of the facility is the use of recycled water to cool the vapour generated during the drying process.
“The water is treated and returned to Barwon Water’s adjacent water reclamation plant as a reliable and sustainable solution for the treatment of some 60,000 tonnes of biosolids each year,” Mr Hay said.
“Being able to turn waste into such a beneficial product in such a sustainable way highlights the outcomes that are achieved by true partnerships between the public and private sectors.”
Plenary is the project sponsor, investor and asset manager of the project, leading the Plenary Environment consortium – also comprising TRILITY and Ferti-Tech – contracted to design, build, finance, and maintain the facility for 20 years in partnership with Barwon Water.
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