The sewer is finally coming in!
An innovative new sewer design could help Australia’s most polluted waterways clean up faster, experts have said.
A $30 million sewer system has been developed in Australia that is the result of a joint Australian and international research effort to reduce emissions from sewer overflows in Sydney and Melbourne, and is part of a wider plan to cut Australia’s emissions by more than a third by 2050.
The new design could be ready to roll in about three months, the Australian Environmental Defence Network (AEDN) said.
It is the latest in a series of experiments involving sewer water systems in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and the project is supported by the Australian government.
The Australian Environment Protection Authority (AEPA) has also been working on a similar system in Sydney since 2008.
The new system, called the AEDN Super Sewer, is similar to the existing sewer designs, but with more sophisticated design and technology, said the AEPA.
The AEDS project is part to the Clean Water Innovation Fund, which was established in 2009 to support research into how Australia can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality.
It has also helped Australia reduce its emissions from its waste water, a major source of greenhouse gas pollution.
Australia’s annual sewage volume has increased by around 20 per cent over the past 10 years, the AES said in a statement.
In Sydney, the average discharge of sewer water is up by more 200,000 cubic metres per year, the equivalent of about two million cars washing away.
“This new design provides a much cleaner and less polluting solution to reducing emissions from Sydney’s sewage system,” said AES director of research Andrew McLean.
Australian Water Holdings is the company developing the AedS, while the NSW Department of Health is overseeing the project.
It will be up to the NSW government to decide how to spend the money.
The NSW government has promised to spend $25 million of the $30-million over three years to install and upgrade the sewer system, which will include the installation of an oxygen sensor, filters and new pumps.
The Sydney sewage is the most polluted in the state, and wastewater from the area has a high carbon footprint.
Emissions from Sydney are estimated to be 40 per cent higher than the rest of the state and 40 per per cent of the total, according to a 2016 report by the Sydney Water Authority.
As a result, the city of Sydney, which has the largest concentration of residents in the city, has the highest number of sewage overflows per capita in the country.
The system will be installed on land, at the edge of a nearby landfill and on an industrial site near a river.
It will also be used for sewage disposal and for recycling, recycling to be sent to other parts of the country, and to meet waste management targets, AEDs director of public affairs Michael O’Connor said.
The first phase of the project will include upgrading the sewage system, installing a new sensor to monitor water quality, a filter, a new pump and a new system for collecting wastewater.
An AEDC spokesperson said the government was in discussions with the Sydney water authority about funding for the new system.