WA Resource Recovery Technical Tour

Thursday, 15 March 2018

A brilliant event where the common theme that shone through was that holistic views on resource utilisation, specifically in the Kwinana Industrial area, needs to drive decision making within organisations.

We started the day at the Woodman Point WWTP being shown around the upgrade works being undertaken by event sponsor WP180 Alliance made up of the Water Corporation, Civmec and Black & Veatch. The plant currently treats 140 mega litres per day of sewage and the upgrade is to expand this to 180 mega litres per day. The visit highlighted the innovative sequencing being employed by the team to ensure that the plant remains operational whilst meeting the construction schedule and the benefits of alliance style contracting in a brownfield environment (View 3D animation here). The treated effluent from the Woodman Point WWTP runs past the Kwinana industrial strip to be discharged into the Sepia Depression offshore from Point Perron, which was a topic of much discussion in the following presentations. 

Jamal Fozdar from CSBP kicked things off and gave the attendees a rare insight into the water and wastewater considerations of a large industrial player. Historically CSBP have been able to increase their extraction from groundwater bores in times of high water demand as a relatively cheap source but recent limitations now mean that CSBP balances multiple water sources to provide process water. These changes along with CSBP’s emphasis on corporate reputation has driven them to consider and implement a number of recycling and resource recovery initiatives including Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) and utilising treated effluent directly. This includes a unique case of industrial symbiosis relevant to the water industry whereby fluorosilic acid, a by-product of CSBP’s superphosphate production, is used by the Water Corporation as a source of fluoride for drinking water.

Having the scene set nicely from an operator’s perspective the next speaker, Chris Oughton Director of the Kwinana Industries Council, provided a fantastic overview of the challenges around growth of the sector and the economic importance of this region for Western Australia as a whole. Chris informed us that one of the bottle necks to growth is the availability of suitable process water, whilst the extraction of groundwater is currently sustainable this source will not be available to new organisations wanting to move to Kwinana. It was also noted that there are 158 material exchanges within the Kwinana Industrial sector where industrial symbiosis is being encourage to the point of world best practice. Chris’ view was that a form of symbiosis, MAR, was the most obvious solution to providing an alternative process water supply. 

Our next speaker Jason Pugh, CEO of the New Energy Corporation, was a slight change of direction as he presented the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility project and benefits of Waste to Energy (WtE). Currently we only divert 36% of waste away from landfill and once our local landfill sites reach capacity they will not be replaced. WtE technology can be utilised in a safe manner in a small footprint to achieve a staggering 96% diversion from landfill. Jason showed us that this technology is common overseas and that there was the potential for the sludge from East Rockingham WWTP to be used as feedstock to the East Rockingham Facility. It was great to see that Jason was getting long term contracts executed to supply feedstock to the facility and the project in general is a positive step forward for Western Australia in regards to re-utilisation of our waste products.   

Our final speaker for the day was Amy Cowdell who is an Environmental Officer for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER). It was apparent that DWER acknowledges the impact that the potential water demand gap will have on growth in the Kwinana Industrial Sector and they are currently putting resources into understanding the groundwater model while investigating the engineering and commercial feasibility of water source alternatives. It was also interesting to see the regulatory complexities and the steps that DWER are taking to simplify them so that recycling of wastewater is encouraged and optimised in the future. 

From our event it was clear that the professionals in the Western Australian water sector are active in promoting environmentally sustainable economic growth and this can be achieved by taking a holistic view of our limited natural resources.  

This event was proudly supported by:
Woodman Point WWTP
John Egan – WP180 Alliance Commissioning Manager with tour group at the clarifiers being configured as temporary reactors
Woodman Point WWTP
John Egan – WP180 Alliance Commissioning Manager with tour group in front of the odour control facility