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TasWater experience readies team for the Antarctic

Ahead of a 13-month expedition to Earth’s southernmost continent, a team from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) made a pit stop at one of TasWater’s sewage treatment plants to gain hands-on experience in preparation for maintenance of infrastructure in Antarctica. 

The AAD team spent an afternoon at the Blackmans Bay Sewage Treatment Plant in Tasmania, learning from TasWater staff and gaining practical experience for their Antarctic adventures.

Community, Stakeholder and Customer Relations Department Manager Ruth Dowty said the team toured the plant in order to support previous treatment process learnings.

“The plumbers and electricians are responsible for looking after sewage infrastructure on the  continent,” Dowty said.

“Spending time at a working treatment plant gave them practical insight and hands‐on experience that supports their classroom learning.”

Into the cold

The AAD team will be responsible for operating and maintaining small sewage treatment plants at Mawson, Davis and Casey research stations in Antarctica during their stay, as well as other duties.

“They toured the Blackmans Bay facility with TasWater operators and engineers who shared their experiences and provided practical advice and tips on the workings of the equipment,” Dowty said.

AAD Infrastructure Engineer Sara Pearce said the tour provided invaluable insights into the design and operations of sewage infrastructure.

“Ahead of their deployment, the team enjoyed the opportunity to apply what they’ve learnt in training at a live treatment plant,” Pearce said.

“The expeditioners have limited experience in wastewater and visiting a sewage treatment plant  ahead of their time in Antarctica is a crucial component of our preparation,” she said.

Though larger in scale, the Blackmans Bay facility is similar to the set up in Antarctica, which is a scaled down version of sewage infrastructure found in Tasmania.

“The session has boosted the team’s confidence and will place them in a good position for the year ahead,” Pearce said.