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A Sustainable, Green Wicket At The MCG

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As part of a multi-million-dollar project to build Victoria’s largest underground recycled water treatment plant at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), CAPS Australia supplied air blowers for the unique facility.

The Yarra Park MCG Water Recycling Facility is a Class A water treatment facility built on the doorstep of the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, and CAPS supplied four positive displacement (PD) blowers which are used to aerate the water during treatment and to provide backwash to clean membrane filters. The lead contractor for the project, Tenix, supplied process, mechanical, civil, electrical, instrumentation and control design and construction.

The water treatment plant produces 600 kilolitres of ‘Class A’ recycled water each day. This water is used to irrigate the Yarra Park reserve, Richmond Football Club’s ‘’Punt Road Oval’’, and for cleaning and flushing the toilets at the MCG. The plant has worked to reduce the MCG’s potable water usage by up to 50%, effectively removing it from the list of Melbourne’s top 100 water users.

According to Daniel Haworth, Tenix Operations Supervisor for the MCG Recycled Water Treatment Plant the blower solution had to fit in a very constrained narrow space. “Service access in our bunker is difficult, but the solution recommended by CAPS—with maintenance access via top and front panels—fitted our site’s needs perfectly,” Haworth said. “Another service feature of the blowers that we really appreciate is the inclusion of an automatic belt tensioning system which increased the operational time between servicing.”

Serving as a benchmark for the water industry across Australia, the MCG treatment plant is the largest of its type in Victoria and provides a sustainable source of water for irrigation well into the future. A major requirement was to not disturb the aesthetics of the existing parklands or reduce current parking availability. Operationally, the plant has taken the best of traditional, new and developing technology and located it all in a small footprint underground facility that can be easily operated and maintained at a manageable cost.

“In the MCG plant, two CAPS positive displacement blowers are in operation 24 hours a day, with two in standby mode,” explained Paolo Lazzari, National Manager For Compressed Air Products for CAPS. The underground plant is contained in a 12 by 4.8 metre diameter pumping station bored into the ground adjacent to the MCG, within the Yarra Park Reserve.

Innovative construction techniques using fibre-reinforced plastic for walkways reduced construction time as they could be cut to size on site and were much lighter than traditional metal construction materials. Associated infrastructure on the inlet side includes the sewer connection, diversion chamber and a rising main. Other infrastructure includes connections under the concourse to a pre-existing storage tank beneath the MCG. There are also connections to Punt Road storage, a pump station and sludge return gravity line downstream of the sewerage takeoff.

The water treatment involves screening and grit removal, biological treatment of the sewage and addition of chemicals to remove phosphate. Filtration methods used include membrane bioreactor (MBR) and ultrafiltration (UF) membrane systems. Disinfection of the water is by both ultraviolet (UV) and chlorination.

Lazzari is proud that CAPS could provide a unique solution to meet the needs of this ground-breaking project. “Blowers are a common part of water treatment systems but it is unusual for them to be located in a bunker. Our blowers were the right equipment to meet the specific project requirements,” he said. 

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