On Friday 8th November the VIC Chapter facilitated a visit to the Victorian Desalination Plant (VDP), located 135km southeast of Melbourne on the Bass Coast, at Wonthaggi. The VDP is a rainfall-independent source of drinking water capable of supplying up to 150 billion litres a year - when required - to the greater population of Melbourne and surrounding regions.
On arrival from Melbourne by bus, approximately 20 FACCI members were welcomed and provided with in-depth presentations and a guided tour of the facility by Mike Jury, Plant Director,Watersure; Julien Taury, Compliance Manager, Watersure; Rosemary Swart Community Liaison Officer, Watersure; and Simon Lee, Communications & Public Affairs Director, Degrémont Australia & Suez Environnement Australia.
The VDP includes not just one of the largest seawater reverse osmosis desalination plants in the world but also an 84 km underground water transfer pipeline to connect the VDP to the Melbourne water network through the Cardinia Reservoir, an 87km underground high voltage power cable (the longest in the world), as well as a 1.2km seawater intake tunnel and 1.5km brine (seawater concentrate) outlet tunnel designed to protect the coast and marine environment. Ongoing effective environmental management is a key project focus, with the world class design including Australia’s largest living green roof (larger than the playing surface of the MCG) and a 225 ha revegetated coastal ecological park for public use – one of the State’s biggest restoration projects.
The project was successfully delivered as a private-public partnership with the State of Victoria. In 2009, the AquaSure consortium was selected to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the project for a 30-year period. A Thiess-Degrémont JV was contracted by AquaSure for construction. The Department of Environment and Primary Industries manages the contract with AquaSure on behalf of the Victorian State. Now that the facility is complete, Watersure, the Degrémont Thiess Services JV operations and maintenance team, supervises the facility under contract to AquaSure until 2039, after which it will be handed back to the state in perfect working order.
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