Water corporations collaborate to move closer to a circular economy

South East Water, Greater Western Water, Intelligent Water Networks and RMIT University are collaborating on a new wastewater management project that will convert leftover biosolids into a carbon-rich form of charcoal, which farmers and the broader agriculture industry can utilise to improve soil quality.

The leftover biosolids would normally be sent to landfill, and with around 30 per cent of the worlds biosolids stockpiled or sent to landfill, the Biosolids to Biochar project seeks to address this significant environmental challenge, with the technology currently being trialed at the Melton Recycled Water Plant in Melbourne.

On a recent visit to the Melton Recycled Water Plant, Steve McGhie MP, Member for Melton representing Acting Minister for Water Richard Wynne, says “This project is an excellent example of like-minded organisations working together with a shared commitment to sustainable solutions. By reusing and adding value to biosolids, we recover local resources, reduce landfill and create renewable energy to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Victorian water corporations are committed to a circular economy so are continually looking for ways to move closer to this goal. The Biosolids to Biochar project provides an opportunity to exploit the full value from waste resources through the trial of this Australian-first technology. This collaboration illustrates that the water sector is ‘better together’, as they move closer to this shared goal. Dean Barnett, Program Director at Intelligent Water Networks says “At IWN, we are very excited to be part of this innovative technology trial – turning a waste product into a useable resource, which meets our objective of a circular economy for our members and the broader water industry.”

Maree Lang, Managing Director, Greater Western Water and Lara Olsen, Managing Director of South East Water have both expressed their excitement at being part of such an important and innovative project. The next stage of the trial will involve scaling up the technology, with a dedicated unit in place at a Water Recycling Plant (WRP) over an extended period of time.

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