South East Queensland was caught in the grip of a severe continent-wide drought and faced stringent water restrictions. Combined dam levels were low, and water supplies were dwindling. Supply to two nearby power stations was threatened. The government needed a solution that would secure water supplies to the power stations, would help with drought-proofing the state and could be operational on an emergency schedule.
Black & Veatch engineers already were assisting the government with the development of the Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme (WCRW). This far-sighted project included the construction of three advanced water treatment plants and two pipelines that would ultimately produce 232 million liters a day (MLD) of purified recycled water. Black & Veatch, along with joint-venture partners, formed the Bundamba Alliance, which was awarded the design, construction and commissioning of one of the three water treatment plants – the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant (AWTP) Stages 1A and 1B – on a fast-track schedule.
Gold Standard for Water Reclamation
The Bundamba AWTP is part of the largest recycled water scheme in the Southern Hemisphere. The main treatment steps – ultrafiltration membranes, reverse osmosis membranes followed by advanced oxidation using ultra-violet irradiation and hydrogen peroxide – represent the gold standard for water reclamation. The plant is the largest application of 18-inch reverse osmosis membranes. This reduced the capital cost since fewer membranes were required, resulting in less maintenance and a lower plant footprint.
The plant was the first AWTP to come on line and was built in about half the time typically required for a similar facility. Stage 1A delivered first water in less than 10 months after the Bundamba Alliance team received access to the site. The Bundamba Alliance has earned a number of awards, including the prestigious international Project of the Year Award from the Construction Management Association of America.
Stage 1B of the plant added an additional 40 MLD to the capacity of the plant. This innovative, sustainable project is part of the AU$2.5 billion (US$1.7 billion) WCRW project, the third-largest recycled water project in the world. Featuring a network of 200 kilometers (124 miles) of underground pipelines and three new AWTPs, the WCRW project will ensure a secure water supply for the rapidly growing, yet drought-prone South East Queensland region for years to come.