System safeguards a vital marine industry

Smithton sewage treatment plant operator Bevan Anderson monitoring the process of the pond based treatment process. Picture: Supplied
Smithton sewage treatment plant operator Bevan Anderson monitoring the process of the pond based treatment process. Picture: Supplied

TasWater is playing a vital role in the continued success of Tasmania's shellfish industry, working with ShellMAP to implement new procedures which minimise risks to shellfish zones.

"We've identified 12 shellfish zones around the state that have at least one sewage treatment plant associated with them," acting leader sewerage system performance, Kate Westgate said.

"We don't want to impact the industry - It would have massive implications if a shellfish lease has to shut due to a sewage spill, that's a huge impact on lease owners and their ability to harvest their product.

"Our ultimate aim is to have a low-risk discharge from our treatment plants to the environment."

ShellMAP ensures that Tasmanian shellfish may be enjoyed safely, they regulate the industry, decide on leases, harvesting and quality control.

"We keep ShellMAP informed of anything that will impact the shellfish zones, including upgrades, planned work and spillages so they can make informed decisions on whether the leases stay open."

Ms Westgate said TasWater have been looking at different ways to monitor their networks and treatment plants to ensure that unplanned events such as spills of over-treated sewage, blockages and weather events can be better handled.

"We've invested quite a lot in preventative maintenance programs, including a cleaning program, removing tree roots and fats that could have the potential to cause blockages," she said.

"In St Helens, we have completed a pump station upgrade at the Esplanade.

"Historically we get a lot of wet weather spills there, and the pump station couldn't cope with the extra flow of stormwater.

"Following the upgrade we have managed to maintain flows, where previously we would have spilt."

TasWater is also looking at innovation trials using smart analytics, hoping to prevent spills and blockages.

"For some of the Pittwater and Cygnet network areas we are looking at pump stations that have smart controls which know what the expected flow should be so when they drop down that will indicate a potential blockage in the system," Ms Westgate said.

"We are also trialling manhole sensors so we can check when the network is reaching capacity, then we can implement contingency measures to help prevent any spills."

The program reinforces TasWater's commitment to sustainable sewage management.

SHARE