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New AD facility for Australian wastewater treatment plant

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Australian water services company SA Water has revealed an $18 million (€10.6 million) upgrade at its Port Lincoln Wastewater Treatment Plant, including a new anaerobic digester.

SA Water revealed that the new anaerobic digestion (AD) facility’s 20-tonne steel cover was put into place last week. Port Lincoln-based Shillabeer Crane Hire worked with local crews from South Australian-based Guidera O’Connor to carefully guide the new equipment into place.

Lisa Hannant, SA Water’s senior manager of production and treatment, said: “It’s an incredible feat and people might not be aware of the work behind the scenes to ensure a safe, successful operation.

“The digester has been engineered to support the weight of the cover and we carried out a range of investigations to enable the lift, including compaction testing of the ground the crane sat on and an extensive bearing capacity assessment.

“The lid is actually a floating cover and sits comfortably in voids, controlled by guide rails and rollers – moving up and down depending on capacity within the digester, which is also sealed by water to prevent the escape of biogas generated during the digestion process.”

Biogas generated at the SA Water facility will be extracted and burned to provide a source of heat for the digester, helping to hold waste at a constant 38oC to create an ‘optimal environment’ for the bacteria, according to Hannant.

The new AD facility will help the company to reduce methane emissions, reduce odours and improve the long-term operability of the treatment plant. Hannant added: “With a state-wide network and continuous focus on sustaining our infrastructure, there are often opportunities to work together and support local businesses and communities.

“An important part of delivering the upgrade has been working with our lead contractor, Guidera O’Connor, to identify and partner with local contractors, and to date we’ve already worked alongside seven businesses from across Port Lincoln.”

SA Water invested $6 million (€3.5 million) to boost the capacity of the sewage pipe network at the facility, which included upgrading a wastewater pumping station and four kilometres of a new sewer main around the Port Lincoln Marina.

Approximately 40 full-time employees are working at the plant to deliver the new project. The upgrade is expected to be completed by December 2020.