South East Water’s Boneo Water Recycling Plant on the Mornington Peninsula has achieved global recognition for its sustainability, placing it among the top projects of its kind in the world.

Nominated for Water Reuse Project of the Year at the 2023 Global Water Awards, the Boneo Water Recycling Plant is the only Australian project shortlisted against initiatives from the USA, Singapore and the Philippines.

In 2022, South East Water completed a $150 million upgrade of its Boneo Water Recycling Plant in a joint venture with John Holland, SUEZ and Beca (JHSB).

The upgrade transformed the Boneo Water Recycling Plant into a circular ecosystem to reduce emissions and make better use of the nutrient and energy rich by-products of the water recycling process to support sustainable agriculture.  

The upgrade delivers a suite of innovative energy efficient technologies and biogas-driven combined heat and power (CHP), reducing the utility’s reliance on grid electricity by 30 – 40% and contributing to a corporate emissions reduction target of 45% by 2025.

South East Water’s General Manager Liveable Water Solutions, Charlie Littlefair, said the global recognition for the Boneo upgrade shows that a sustainable approach to technology solutions provides benefits to customers, community and environment.

“This innovative upgrade of our Boneo plant will support the region’s growing community until 2050. We’ve increased its capacity to treat 50% more wastewater, which provides a drought-proof source of high-quality recycled water for local farmers.  
“It also supports peak sewage inflows in the area during the summer months — and allows the connection of more than 16,000 ageing septic systems to sewer — a known cause of groundwater and waterway pollution in the region.”
South East Water General Manager, Liveable Water Solutions - Charlie Littlefair

The major upgrade is funded by a commitment South East Water made in its Five-year Customer Commitment 2018–23 to stay ahead of challenges like population growth and climate change.

The Global Water Awards recognise excellence across the entire international water industry, rewarding leading initiatives in water, wastewater and desalination.

The winners will be announced at the Global Water Summit in Berlin in May 2023.

Top: Boneo Water Recycling Plant - aerial view of upgrade
Bottom: Boneo Water Recycling Plant’s Biogas-driven Combined Heat and Power (CHP), reduces reliance on grid electricity by 30 – 40%.

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