Recycled water boost for Sunbury

Sprawling estates in Sunbury and Diggers Rest will be provided with an additional 4 million litres of recycled water every day once a $53 million wastewater plant upgrade is completed in early 2018.

Water Minister Lisa Neville, who was in Sunbury on Monday to announce the start of the biggest project in Western Water’s history, said farmers, the area’s growing businesses and sporting clubs would also benefit, with extra water available in times of drought and low rainfall.

‘‘It’s not just about how you manage the sewage, but actually about how you can utilise that to create better immunity in our community,’’ she said.

‘‘If you think back to the last drought we had, you had sporting ovals that weren’t green, you had businesses that struggled because they weren’t able to access the water needs they had to keep going.

‘‘We know how absolutely critical security of water is to business and economic growth, but also how important water is to the social fabric of communities.’’

Ms Neville said the upgrade, which will increase the volume of wastewater the plant is able to treat from 5.9 to 9.2 million litres a day, will also create more than 50 full and part-time jobs during construction.

Western Water chairman Terry Larkins said the project would ensure the authority was ready for the challenges of massive population growth and climate change.

‘‘It’s impossible to go down the streets of Sunbury and Diggers Rest and not notice the changes that are ongoing,’’ he said.

‘‘New houses are going up, new businesses are opening, our schools and sporting clubs are growing.

‘‘This will allow us to produce more recycled water and, importantly, better quality recycled water.

‘‘This will mean better protection of Jacksons Creek and its associated biodiversity.’’

The upgraded plant will keep to the same footprint of the existing facility, which has provided treated wastewater for sporting fields and producers, including grape growers, since it was constructed in the 1980s.

‘‘This plant will be more energy efficient, with improved environmental performance,’’ Mr Larkins said.

A community reference group has been involved in planning for the new plant.