Murray Bridge WWTP: Delivering Enduring Social Benefits to a Regional Community - ISCouncil

Murray Bridge WWTP: Delivering Enduring Social Benefits to a Regional Community

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Murray Bridge Wastewater Treatment Plant: Delivering Enduring Social Benefits to a Regional Community

SA Water and John Holland are building a new $52 million Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and associated transfer infrastructure in the Murray Bridge region, a predominately agricultural area of the State located approximately 75km from Adelaide. The new plant will replace an ageing treatment plant commissioned in the 70’s which has experienced ongoing issues with odour, significantly affecting the quality of life of at least 750 residents, and at risk of environmental breaches through potential uncontrolled discharges into the River Murray. The use of novel and enhanced treatment process and odour control facilities will help minimise odour from the new plant and improve the liveability and well-being of the surrounding community.

Besides achieving strategic goals of economic efficiency and environmental performance, the project team has excelled at partnering with the local community. From inception, the project team has worked collaboratively and placed an emphasis on the creation of long-lasting community values through its associated investment. The project team understands that the legacy the project leaves in communities is just as important as the physical delivery of the infrastructure.  This is particularly relevant when young people in the Murray Bridge Local Government Area (LGA) are significantly disadvantaged educationally, socially and economically when compared against key indicators.  (School & Beyond Inc Environmental Scan, Murray Mallee region, 2011).

This project has not only strengthened the participation of local community in planning for improved sanitation but also supported regional economic growth and community well-being yielding several benefits, namely:

  • Provision of local employment and opportunities for local businesses. These local jobs drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future; additionally, over 10% of workforce is from the local Ngarrindjeri aboriginal community.
  • Investment in leading technology (Moving Bed BioFilm Reactor treatment process) for a reliable, sustainable and resilient wastewater infrastructure, which supports economic development and human well-being.
  • Community connectedness through the delivery of school engagement programs and collaborative community educational and engagement programs including …
  • Investment in recreational, arts and cultural activities including the establishment of an urban landscape design in direct consultation with key stakeholders which is based on and represents the unique Ngarrindjeri culture and riverine history of the region.

Learnings include:

  1. Sound technical capacity and understanding of industry specific innovation and opportunities is crucial to assist clients achieve their sustainability targets and objectives in a rapidly evolving environment.
  1. Strong team collaboration allows understanding of the risks and opportunities across all disciplines and all stages of the project, resulting in an improved design and construction methodology.
  1. Open and frank communication on the project challenges, progress and achievements to  our key stakeholders and general community.
  1. Development of a strong stakeholder and community engagement strategy. Early planning engagement and ongoing consultation with stakeholders and community ensured that both the value and risk of the project are shared, understood and well managed.