Green Labs wastewater to green power

18 Oct 2017

Green Labs representatives inspecting aerated water tanks at water treatment facilityEarlier this month, the Green Labs Update Session gave Green Labs representatives a rare chance to tour the Urban Utilities Oxley Creek Sewage Treatment Plant to discover how wastewater is transformed into green power.

After suffering $32 million worth of damage during the 2011 floods, the plant has undergone significant upgrades, enabling it to process 65 million litres of sewage per day—the equivalent of 26 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

On their tour, Green Labs representatives were able to follow the waste from its entry to the plant through the treatment process and, finally, to the outlets where the newly cleaned water is released.

The plant is committed to sustainable practice, and removes biosolids—the organic material produced during sewage treatment—to produce biogas, which now supplies 70% of the plant's electricity needs.

Because of their high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous, biosolids also make excellent agricultural fertiliser—in fact, many local farmers now use biosolids from the Oxley Creek plant to fertilise their land.

One key sustainability takeaway from the tour was to avoid putting 'flushable' wipes and cotton buds down the toilet, as they can block pipes and ultimately end up in landfill. Put these items in the bin instead, and opt for reusable versions of disposable single-use products.