Fraser Coast Regional Council, through Wide Bay Water (WBW) a business unit of Council, has investigated a range of options for sewage treatment plant upgrade locations and release of additional recycled water generated in order to meet the needs of our growing population in Hervey Bay.
Over the next 25 years the population of Fraser Coast is expected to increase on average by 1%1 per annum to a total population of approximately 125,000 people by 2036.
WBW is evaluating three possible options for sewage treatment plant (STP) upgrade locations and release of the additional recycled water.
They are also exploring new opportunities for recycled water, (regardless of which treatment plant location is upgraded), in order to add to the current expansive irrigation program with turf farms, cane fields and hardwood forests, one of Australia’s largest.
Council engaged with the community in May-October 2019 for their feedback on the three possible options and recycled water scheme expansion.
The Major Sewage Treatment Plant Capacity Increase for Hervey Bay Site Selection Project Community Consultation report was prepared in October-November 2019 so that Council can consider the best approach for the future.
In mid December 2019 the Major Sewage Treatment Plant Capacity Increase for Hervey Bay Site Selection Project Community Consultation report has been submitted to Council.
1 This is based on Office of Government Statistician’s projections in 2018.
See below to find out more about the three possible options and the recycled water scheme expansion.
Why are we doing this?
Currently, there are a number of treatment plants and recycled water management systems located in the Hervey Bay area including:
- three (STPs);
- recycled water storage dams;
- recycled water distribution pipe network and pump stations; and
- four hardwood plantation (and pasture) irrigation schemes managed by Wide BayWater (WBW).
The current recycled water scheme also includes reuse by private entities, including irrigation for sugar cane, crops, golf courses, turf farms, and water offtakes for dust suppression.
The population of Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast is increasing. Over the next 25 years the population of Fraser Coast is expected to increase on average by 1.3% per annum to a total population of approximately 125,000 people by 2036.
The Sewage Treatment Plant at Pulgul is close to capacity and action must begin now to ensure that its capacity is not exceeded by growth in the region.
There has already been significant work undertaken as part of the Site Selection process for the major STP capacity increase. WBW commissioned a site selection study to evaluate options to achieve the capacity increase. The study completed by Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) sought “to assess the Hervey Bay sewerage and recycled waste management system to identify a recommended site for the augmentation to cater for the expected increase in connections”. The options assessed involved the two STPs; Pulgul and Nikenbah, and how to manage the increase in recycled water.
View a copy of the site selection study report (PDF)
The three primary options that have arisen from the study are being shared with the wider community to seek feedback on each of them so that Council can consider the best approach for the future. Depending on which option is chosen, sewage can be redirected from one catchment to another to avoid the treatment plants that aren’t upgraded from exceeding capacity. The site options also have an impact on how the recycled water coming from the treatment plant is managed.
Option 1 Nikenbah STP – 100% reuse
All flows at Nikenbah go into the recycled water scheme
- Upgrade Nikenbah STP and expand the reuse scheme to reuse 100% of all additional recycled water that is generated in Hervey Bay. Nikenbah must reuse 100% of recycled water as it does not have access to an outfall. This means that the reuse scheme would have to be continuously expanded to match growth.
Option 2 Pulgul STP – Outfall
New outfall offset from the Marina is constructed and the existing recycled water scheme continues to operate as it currently does.
- Upgrade Pulgul STP and build a new outfall several hundred metres from the Marina. The existing reuse scheme would continue to operate as it currently does and would not be expanded for roughly another 20 years until an upgrade to the Nikenbah STP becomes necessary.
Option 3 Pulgul STP – Outfall + expanded reuse
New outfall offset from the Marina is constructed and the recycled water scheme is expanded whenever beneficial opportunities arise.
- Upgrade Pulgul STP, build a new outfall several hundred metres from the Marina and continue to expand the reuse scheme. Having a new outfall that can effectively disperse recycled water with minimal impact to the environment builds flexibility into the reuse scheme. This means that the reuse scheme does not have to expand immediately to match growth and WBW can actively investigate and implement beneficial opportunities to expand.
An additional component of this project is to identify community ideas for alternative opportunities for the use of recycled water.
A map showing the recycled water reuse and release options developed in the KBR study is below
What is an Outfall?
An outfall is the recycled water exit point within a recycled water management framework. This is commonly referred to as ‘discharge’ or ‘release’ location. An outfall could be located into a creek or could be a seabed pipeline discharging into the ocean.
A consideration in choosing an outfall location is that the location should be able to disperse any nutrients so that they don’t have a negative impact on the environment.
In Hervey Bay, the Eli Creek and Pulgul STPs both have licenced outfalls for the release of recycled water to waterways.
What is Recycled Water?
Recycled water is the product of a multi-stage mechanical, biological and chemical sewage treatment process.
What is Effluent?
Effluent is an old term used to describe the product of the sewage treatment process. ‘Recycled water’ is now used whenever the treatment is comprehensive enough to allow for safe reuse.
What is the Hervey Bay Sewerage Treatment Network?
A map showing the different aspects of the sewerage treatment system and catchment areas is available below.
A range of consultation activities were held in September and October 2019. This community engagement was spread over two stages including:
- A Community Panel made up of a representative sample of people from across the Fraser Coast region has been meeting to deliberate on the three options that are being explored and to consider new alternative options;
- Wider community engagement involving workshops, community information stalls, bus site tours and key stakeholder interviews were held in September-October 2019 (see the Major Sewage Treatment Plant Capacity Increase for Hervey Bay Site Selection Project Brochure in the Document Library).
Click here to find out more.
Explanatory booklets have been prepared to provide additional information about the Hervey Bay sewage treatment scheme.
To register, please email the Project Team at WBWengagement@frasercoast.qld.gov.au