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Sydney Water wins international award

Sydney Water was awarded Wastewater Project of the Year at the 2021 Global Water Awards in London earlier this month, with the Australian utility celebrated for its recent works to keep Sydney Harbour clean.

The Refresh Woolloomooloo project involved the development of a new wastewater system that keeps Sydney Harbour free of wastewater overflows during wet weather.

The Global Water Awards gather international water industry leaders and showcases their best solutions, ranging from water technology and smart projects to desalination systems and industrial solutions.

Sydney Water Managing Director Roch Cheroux said Refresh Woolloomooloo was one of just four projects to make the global shortlist out of numerous submissions and congratulated everyone involved in the success of the project.

“It’s our mission to collaborate with our partners, customers and communities to deliver better outcomes and support a thriving, liveable and sustainable city. We are honoured to receive international recognition for our world-class water services,” Cheroux said.

“Refresh Woolloomooloo has been one of Sydney Water’s largest and most complex projects in eastern Sydney. This is a massive win for all of those who helped transform a wastewater system that dated back to the 1800s into modern and sustainable infrastructure that can service the city well into the future.

“That includes the community who have supported this project and shared our vision for a cleaner, safer Sydney Harbour.”

Sydney Water minimised stormwater impacts on Sydney’s iconic harbour, improving the liveability of the area, as well as enhancing water quality and improving habitat for marine life, Cheroux said.

“The completion of the project also resulted in the elimination of odours that impacted thousands of customers at times,” he said.

The project involved separating Sydney’s last combined wastewater and stormwater system in the Woolloomooloo area, installing about 4.2 kilometres of new wastewater pipe adjacent to the existing combined pipe.

The new pipe now captures and transfers overflows in the Woolloomooloo catchment into a separate treatment plant.

Importantly, the project also included a community engagement program before and during the works, which enabled better outcomes, Cheroux said.

“As an organisation that holds our customers at the heart, our teams consistently and proactively engaged with our stakeholders and the community to understand their needs and concerns, we developed alternative options, and identified and implemented real-time solutions,” he said.

“Key to this success was allowing the community to have hands-on ownership of key project decisions and outcomes. As part of the ongoing connection to the local community, Sydney Water also constructed a nature playground at one of the local public schools.”