A $2.5 MILLION project to filter water run-off from a proposed Warrnambool housing subdivision is expected to be a state showcase in reducing pollution and waste.
Using world-class technology, the system will be designed to catch water before it runs into Russells Creek and provide an irrigation resource for local parks and other recreation areas.
If it achieves its goals, the design is likely to be copied in other new estates around the state.
Premier and South West Coast MP Denis Napthine on Friday announced $420,000 from the Living Victoria fund to supplement $50,000 from Wannon Water and about $2 million from Rodger Constructions to build the unique stormwater treatment system in north Warrnambool.
The proposed new estate off Aberline Road which goes before Warrnambool City Council tonight for development plan approval will eventually have up to 500 houses.
It will entail stormwater flowing through a sediment pond and catchment basin with floating wetlands to catch pollutants, then through a sand filter before going into an underground storage tank which overflows into the creek.
Overflows from roof rainwater collection piped into the Wannon Water system will also go into the filtration system.
“Stormwater represents a substantial resource that is under-utilised,” Dr Napthine said.
“It is important we undertake this research to ensure regional centres such as Warrnambool can cope with more people and greater demand for water and increasingly-variable rainfall.
“Treating stormwater to a high standard opens up the possibility of a wide range of end-use benefits including irrigating outdoor spaces, improving the health of local waterways and reducing flood risk.
“It’s an exciting research project to show how clean we can get water and it can be duplicated anywhere in Victoria.
“This design can also be retro-fitted into old estates.
“Warrnambool is leading the way.”
Developer Graeme Rodger said construction would start soon, with expected completion by June 30. The first houses should be hooked up by Christmas and would achieve six-star energy rating
“Warrnambool City Council has wanted a project like this for years, but hasn’t had anyone interested in spending the money,” Mr Rodger said.
“I’m sure when the council sees how successful this is it will recommend further developments also adopt it.
“Why waste good water on irrigating greens when this type of design can provide quality raw water?”
Project consultant Marc Noyce, of international company Cardno, said the design mimicked natural run-off from paddocks. “This is world-class standard which will filter water over a period of two to three days,” Mr Noyce said.
Living Victoria chief executive Mike Waller said the Warrnambool project was the newest and largest of its type in the state.
He said it was vital to find more efficient uses of water resources to reduce pollution, waste and energy use.