A 12-month sewerage augmentation project to improve the quality of the town’s wastewater is complete and has come in under the $1.8 million budget assigned to it.
“We have applied to government to use the balance of the funds on further upgrades to the 50-year-old water treatment plant,” said Walcha Council director of engineering Dylan Reeves.
“A lot of earth has been moved for this project, and we’ve been fortunate that we’ve had good onsite conditions and geotechnics to be able to utilise a lot of the in situ material. Our team has managed this project from the start to completion and we’ve used local contractors.”
Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the project was awarded up to $900,000 from the Restart NSW Water Security for Regions Water and WasteWater Backlog Program and this was matched by Walcha Council.
“It’s part of this government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure which helps communities in regional NSW deal with ongoing water quality and sewerage issues,” he said.
“Reliable sewerage services are vital to the health and wellbeing of regional communities and to providing opportunities for growth.”
The project involved the construction of a second effluent storage pond, de-sludging, cleaning and re-lining the existing 30-year-old pond, installing new pipework and upgrading associated equipment.
“The existing storage pond, where wastewater is held after it is treated, had been full of sediment resulting in a number of algal bloom outbreaks,” Mr Reeves said.
“The clean-up of the existing pond has resolved the sediment build-up, while the construction of a second pond doubles the retention area and extends the time for wastewater to drop sediment.
“That will reduce the risk of algal blooms and improve the quality of water being released into the Apsley River, meaning improved health and environmental outcomes for the community. The sewerage augmentation project ensures a reliable waste water system for Walcha well into the future.”
The second pond also provides a potential revenue stream for Walcha Council if a third party wants to buy the treated water.
“Once it has gone through all the treatment processes that water would then be fine for agricultural purposes and we are going out with an expression of interest,” said Mr Reeves.