Since it was first constructed, the Gisborne RWP has undergone a series of upgrades to improve its capacity and performance.
This latest upgrade is required because strong population growth in the Gisborne area means the treatment plant is nearing its capacity for managing sewage inflows.
An upgrade will increase the plant’s capacity as well as improve the quality of recycled water produced, reducing its impact on the creek. The upgrade will also significantly reduce the plant’s energy consumption.
As the population continues to grow, we will need to manage the increased volumes of sewage to treat and the extra recycled water that is produced.
A major focus for Western Water is identifying new users for this valuable local resource – including recreation spaces in new residential areas and suitable agricultural use. This has been identified in the integrated water management plan for the area which is being developed with the Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
In June 2020, Western Water’s Board confirmed the need for the Gisborne RWP upgrade as outlined in the project’s Business Case.
We will now secure contractors and complete detailed design and construction for initial works on site to ensure it is ready for major works to take place. Early works will include removal of some sheds and a new access track to ensure the safety of staff and contractors, as well as repurposing an existing lagoon to manage storm flows. At the same time, we will undertake the assessments and planning required to complete the final design concept.
As we progress, we will keep the community informed and provide opportunities wherever possible so they can provide input on decisions that affect them. Early community values research will help us understand the priorities for consultation and inform detailed project planning.
Subject to final approvals, the main contract to design and build the plant upgrade will commence by mid-2021.
More information about the details of the upgrade will be provided on this page when contracts are finalised. You can also subscribe to a project update.
Options considered for the upgrade
Several options were considered when looking for the best long-term approach to manage the local area’s sewage and the resulting recycled water. These included diverting some or all of the plant’s sewage to other locations for treatment.
Following detailed analysis, the most sustainable solution was identified as upgrading the plant at the current Gisborne RWP site. This will ensure the plant can meet demand through to 2035, at which time we will have undertaken another detailed review of options for future sewage management using the adaptive pathways approach.
Impact of works on local residents
The works are expected to be entirely within the boundary of the existing plant, so we do not expect any significant impact on local residents.
However, because of the plant’s location, upgrade works will be visible to the community and there is likely to be some increased truck traffic, noise and possibly dust during construction.
Any noise generated during construction or as part of ongoing plant operations will be within allowable noise standards.
Project updates will include advice about when works will occur and any expected impacts for that stage. Find out more about how to stay informed.
We do not expect any disruption to wastewater or recycled water services during the upgrade, but we will communicate directly with affected customers if services are impacted.
The most recent major upgrade to Gisborne RWP took place in 2012 when Western Water constructed the Gisborne Recycled Water Scheme, connecting agricultural customers in Gisborne South to Class B recycled water. This scheme provides farms with a reliable source of water – particularly during dry periods – and further reduces the volumes of recycled water for discharge.