Shell Geelong Refinery and Barwon Water working to achieve a sustainable water future

 The Victorian Minister for Water, Peter Walsh officially opened a $94 million water treatment plant – the Northern Water Plant – which is expected to save approx 2 billion litres of drinking water each year. 

“The Northern Water Plant treats sewage and trade waste from Geelong’s northern suburbs to produce Class A recycled water for the Shell Geelong Refinery,” Mr Walsh said. 

The Plant is expected to save approx 5% of Geelong’s current annual drinking water consumption, while the high-quality recycled water will also be available for various uses.

Mr Walsh said “although there are other plants like this in Australia, the Northern Water Plant is the only facility that generates the highest class of recycled water from sewage containing such a high proportion of industrial wastewater. 

“Not only will this project maximise the availability of non-potable water for industry and the wider community by conserving drinking water, it will also reduce the amount of waste water discharged into the ocean to create a healthier environment. 

“The Northern Water Plant is unique in Australia because it combines several functions into one facility, including: 

  • domestic and industrial wastewater treatment;
  • advanced treatment to generate the highest class of recycled water; and
  • supply to industry.

“The Victorian Government has contributed $9.2 million, Barwon Water $17.5 million, the Federal Government $20 million, and Shell $47.5 million”.

Barwon Water Chairman, Dr Michael King said “in 2003, Barwon Water began a major investigation into managing increasing sewage from northern Geelong.  At the same time, Shell was looking at ways to improve the quality of its wastewater and introduce recycled water to reduce drinking water use.

“The Northern Water Plant was a natural fit to meet the infrastructure needs of both organisations.

He said “it is Barwon Water’s first Class A facility and will meet projected growth across Geelong’s northern suburbs, and has avoided costly and disruptive upgrades of the sewerage system through central Geelong. It is, in every sense, a valuable community asset.” 

Shell Geelong Refinery General Manager, Mark Schubert said “I believe what we have achieved is very important and unique. Right at this moment, it is great to be receiving 5 million litres of recycled water a day, having freed up capacity in the sewer system as well as all that water for community use.”

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