Proposed Redevelopment of Werribee Sewage Farm

Subject: Proposed Redevelopment of Werribee Sewage Farm
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 19:43:51 +1000
Strange there is no comment so far on the following development - I
would have thought the Vic birdwatching community would be abuzz with
the implications for the migratory birds that drop in throughout the
year.  Does anyone have any details of the proposed development and how
the ecological values of the location would be preserved?


Dreams rise from sewage 
The Age Monday 5 November 2001 

Werribee sewage farm could be transformed into a model eco-city
supplying Melbourne and Geelong with 20,000 new jobs, renewable energy
and ample clean water, under a plan before the State Government.

The Werribee Bioregion Project would put into practice the principles of
the government's "triple bottom-line economy" policy, which
encourages investment in economically viable, socially responsible and
ecologically sustainable development.

The project brief from the Melbourne company Natural Capital Management
estimates that for a capital injection of $500 million, the
120-square-kilometre Western Treatment Plant would earn its private and
public backers $200 million a year. The project has won enthusiastic
support from corporate leaders such as Jack Smorgon, the head of Smorgon
Steel and the Committee for Melbourne, as well as unions,
universities, and the cities of Melbourne, Geelong and Wyndham. 

ACTU president Sharan Burrow said it was a great idea that could be
adapted to breathe new life into depressed regions around Australia. "It
the sort of 21st-century development the ACTU is proud to be associated
with," Ms Burrow said.

Natural Capital Management's chairman Rob Gell said the environment had
been degraded "so complexly" that its recovery depended on
sophisticated solutions. The key was turning wastes into riches by
combining a suite of existing green technologies to achieve maximum

For example, the biochemistry of selected plants would clean polluted
water and contaminated soil on the site. This would free up land for
development and provide about 300 megalitres a day of high-quality,
recycled water.

While Melbourne Water aims by 2010 to recycle 10 per cent of the 500
megalitres a day flushing through Werribee, "we need to be looking at
systems that will reuse 60 to 80 per cent", Mr Gell said. "We have to
make reuse the major component, rather than a little bit on the side."

The plants cleaning the soil and water would also be harvested as a
perpetual source of bio-mass to burn in generators producing up to 30
megawatts of renewable energy - enough to light more than 30,000 homes.

At the same time, the generators' heat could warm greenhouses, run a
desalination plant and operate "bio-digestors" (effectively big
turning sewage into fertiliser). Grease recovered from the treated
sewage could be made into bio-diesel to fuel machinery and transport.

Wildlife habitat is an integral component of the overall land-management
plan. An aquatic botanic gardens is envisaged along with low-impact
tourism for the site's wetlands, which are listed with the United
Nations as internationally significant for migratory birds.

The City of Wyndham's director of economic development, Greg Aplin, said
the project would change perceptions about Werribee. He said for
the first time the site would be regarded instead as a valuable
environmental resource underpinning industries for the future.

A spokesman for the Environment and Conservation Minister, Sherryl
Garbutt, said the government was very supportive of the project's aims,
but it was considering the merits of several proposals for the site.
"But we think its general aims have a lot of potential," she said.

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