Carbon-neutral amenities for outback Australia

July 10, 2007
In a first for remote Australian communities Water Recycle Group (WRG) is installing a solar-powered package wastewater treatment system with full water reuse capabilities. The site at William Creek is in the fragile Lake Eyre conservation area had no mains power so a pro-environment solution was sought. Working with WJMac Services and RI-Industries led to a solution that now sets the standard for carbon-neutral remote installations. The project funded by the national government's...

CANBERRA, Australia, July 8, 2007 -- In a first for remote Australian communities Water Recycle Group (WRG) is installing a solar-powered package wastewater treatment system with full water reuse capabilities. The site at William Creek is in the fragile Lake Eyre conservation area had no mains power so a pro-environment solution was sought. Working with WJMac Services and RI-Industries led to a solution that now sets the standard for carbon-neutral remote installations.

The project funded by the national government's Water Fund was awarded to WRG by the Outback Areas Community Development Trust, the local authority responsible for the unincorporated areas of South Australia. The site had posed a problem for the OACDT in terms of maintenance and efficient operation for some time.

WRG's Managing Director, Kelvin Fahey expressed a sense of achievement with the installation saying, "Whilst there are concerns over global warming and considerable criticism of past policies it is a pleasure to have worked on this innovative design and positive application that demonstrates that in even this small way, we can start to do things smarter, more ecologically sustainable and within a reasonable budget."

The 'Can Do' attitude was also reflected by Bill McLean, Manager of WJMac Services who designed the solar power unit and telemetry capabilities of the system. "It wasn't an easy job, as the environmental conditions are harsh. Temperatures are below zero in winter and can soar to 50 degrees centigrade in summer. The panels had to be angled just right to allow for the charge to be effective and we used a series of batteries for the trickle power required for the pump." Bill has had plenty of experience in this field, being one of the pacesetters in the design and application of solar powered radio transmitters for the State Emergency Services during the 1990s in the eastern states of Australia. So isolation and a challenge was nothing new to him.

Being almost 900km (530 miles) north of Adelaide the system needs to work automatically unmanned 24/7 and it does just that. With the success of this installation, several other remote sites are also being evaluated for attention by WRG and its partners.

Water Recycle Group Australia (WRG) was established in 2000 to provide solutions for practical water treatment by safe, clean, environmentally friendly and cost effective methods. The company has won several awards, the most recent being the Knowledge Fund for commercializing a package greywater treatment technology. The business has a focus on medium scale projects of between 20 to 4,000 population sites. The Australian-owned business is United Nations accredited and is active across the Asia-Pacific region.

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