Over the last several decades, Veolia has had the opportunity to work on a number of exciting projects in collaboration with Sydney Water Corporation, finding solutions to Sydney’s unique water challenges. Sydney Water Corporation is a State Government-owned statutory corporation that provides potable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services to the Greater Sydney, Illawarra and Blue Mountains regions in New South Wales.
"The relationship between the parties in any public private participation project is a key to its success. Some of the key governing principles that have been developed for the Veolia/Sydney Water relationship include joint objectives of excelling in meeting customer needs, delivering win-win solutions that meet the needs of both parties, resolving issues together before they become disputes and being flexible and innovative in jointly achieving improvements."
Colin Nicholson, Manager Treatment Operations, Sydney Water
Sydney is hugely reliant on dams and rainfall to provide its drinking water. With Sydney’s growing population and uncertain rainfall predictions due to climate change, the NSW State Government recognised a need for a new, non-rainfall dependent source of water to secure the city’s water supplies for the future.
In June 2010, Veolia worked with John Holland in a joint venture to design and build Sydney’s Desalination Plant on behalf of Sydney Water. The plant is located on a 45 hectare site at Kurnell and includes a 15 hectare environmental conservation area. Essentially, seawater is treated using reverse osmosis which pushes seawater through membranes where salt and any other impurities are removed, producing freshwater.
Veolia now operates and maintains the plant and intake/outlet structures under a 20 year contract, while ownership of the plant lies with Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan (OTPP) and Hastings Fund Management (HFM).
The regional townships of Gerringong and Gerroa located on the NSW south coast required a reticulated sewerage system that would allow for water reuse. In 2002 Veolia pioneered an efficient treatment system on behalf of Sydney Water, designing and building a sewerage scheme – the first of its kind by the private sector within the Gerringong region.
The scope of the project consists of a treatment plant, 50 kilometres of pipelines and 12 pumping stations. The scheme is designed to reuse 80% or more of the treated effluent for irrigation at a local dairy farm. There are also occasional discharges into adjacent sand dunes and into a nearby natural wetland in extreme wet weather conditions. The scheme’s 2.2ML/d capacity sewage treatment plant services a population of 8,000 and is located on Baileys Island, south of Gerroa and adjacent to the Crooked River.
Water Treatment Plants
In the early 1990s, Sydney Water needed to improve the quality of Sydney’s drinking water to meet the more stringent standards for drinking water introduced by the National Health and Medical Research Council. As a result, Veolia began a long-term partnership with Sydney Water in 1994 to build and operate the Illawarra and Woronora (Wyuna) Water Treatment Plants. The design, construction and commissioning components of the project cost approximately $AUD182 million.
The Woronora Water Treatment Plant was constructed at Woronora Dam to filter water supplied from the Woronora Reservoir. This plant was designed with a maximum capacity of 160 megalitres per day; however the daily production rate varies due to a range of external factors affecting water demand. The Illawarra Water Treatment Plant was constructed to treat water from the Avon Dam, and produces up to 210 megalitres per day. A hydro-electric facility enables this plant to be entirely self-sufficient, exporting renewable energy back to the grid.
Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme
The NSW Government has a goal to increase the amount of water recycled in Sydney to 70 billion litres a year by 2015. The Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme is one water recycling project under the NSW Government's Metropolitan Water Plan that supports this commitment by encouraging industrial and irrigation customers to use recycled water instead of drinking water.
AquaNet Sydney (part of the Jemena Ltd group) together with Veolia designed, built, own and operate the Rosehill Recycled Water Scheme. This project includes the Fairfield Recycled Water Plant with a capacity of 20 megalitres per day, two pump stations and three reservoirs connected by 20 kilometres of pipeline. Veolia was responsible for designing, building, financing the water recycling plant and is now operating and maintaining it under a long term contract.
The plant produces 4.3 billion litres a year of highly treated recycled water for major industrial and commercial customers in Rosehill and Smithfield, reducing demands on drinking water supplies. The plant is specifically designed for future demand by being capable of producing an extra three billion litres of recycled water per year if required at a later date. Construction of the pilot plant commenced in early 2009, and the scheme was completed in mid-2011. This is Australia’s first private scheme for high grade recycled water.
Can produce 250 million litres per day of high quality drinking water
Capacity to provide drinking water to 1.5 million people
Key component of Sydney’s water security
Flexible production capacity
Services a population of 500,000
100% regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction
4.3 billion litres a year of highly treated recycled water
Alternative water supply for irrigation and industrial processes
Ensuring water supply security for Sydney Water’s customers