General questions

    Why does Point Lookout need a new wastewater treatment plant?

    The current wastewater treatment plant is more than 30 years old. The plant is at its limit during peak holiday periods and is nearing its ‘use by’ date. 

    Put simply, the current wastewater treatment plant no longer meets the community’s needs and must be replaced. 

    The new wastewater treatment plant will be a state-of-the-art plant that will allow for peak season demands and provide considerable environmental benefits. 

    What are the benefits of the new plant?

    The new wastewater treatment plant is required to meet strict environmental and odour conditions.

    The new treatment plant will reduce turbidity (ensuring better clarity) and improve removal of nutrients in effluent. The new plant will also be able to respond to the high flows that occur during peak holiday periods. 

    Specialised odour treatment systems will be incorporated into the plant’s design to ensure odour nuisance is mitigated for surrounding areas, including neighbouring houses. 

    The construction phase of the project is expected to bring direct and indirect benefits to the local economy. 

    After the project is completed in early 2017, Council has plans to extend the current Point Lookout sewerage system to include the remaining parts of the township still using septic systems, again bringing considerable environmental benefits to landholders.

    Existing pump stations have been upgraded to ensure reliability and capacity to meet expected future sewerage connections.

    Where will the new plant be?

    The new facility will be built at the site of the existing wastewater treatment plant at the end of Tramican Street, Point Lookout.

    Locating the new facility at the existing site follows detailed environmental, social and economic assessments and will deliver a number of benefits including: 

    • Building on the existing wastewater treatment plant site means minimal vegetation will be removed, causing the least disturbance to the island’s unique natural environment. 
    • The new state-of-the-art treatment plant will be designed to mitigate odour issues that exist with the current treatment plant. Equipment at the new plant will also not cause any noise issues. 
    • Building the plant at a new site would also have added considerable cost.

    What type of wastewater treatment plant will it be?

    The new wastewater treatment plant will use Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology. MBRs consist of fine screening, denitrification and nitrification zones, biological and chemical phosphorous removal, which is then followed by membrane treatment and disinfection. 

    This proven technology will provide the best outcome for residents in terms of the quality of effluent treatment, operability, maintenance and costs. 

    The new MBR plant has a comparatively low cost and small footprint compared with other treatment plant technologies. It also meets strict odour controls and will achieve higher treated effluent quality. 

    It will be more power efficient and a very reliable system for treatment of wastewater.

    How will construction affect the Point Lookout community?

    Every effort will be taken to minimise impacts to North Stradbroke Island residents. 
     
    During construction, residents may notice an increase of traffic to the site, and occasionally heavy machinery and trucks will be using island roads to transport materials to site. 
     
    Plans are in place to ensure a smooth transition as the old plant is decommissioned and the new plant becomes operational. There should be no disruption to wastewater disposal at homes.

    What approval does Council have for the development?

    The State Department of Environment and Heritage Protection have approved the Material Change of Use required for the development.

    The Federal Department of the Environment have confirmed the project's compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

    Who will build the new plant?

    Downer Tenix have been awarded the contract to design and construct the new plant. The company have experience with similar wastewater treatment plants in coastal locations with seasonal populations. Detailed design is underway, with construction expected to commence in late 2015. The project is expected to be completed in early 2017.

Odour and environment

    What are the environmental benefits of building on the existing site?

    Building on the existing wastewater treatment plant site means minimal vegetation will be removed, causing the least disturbance to the island’s unique natural environment.

    What are the environmental benefits of the new plant?

    The new wastewater treatment plant will use Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) technology. MBRs consist of fine screening, nitrification and denitrification zones, biological and chemical phosphorous removal and membrane treatment. Environmental benefits of the treatment plant include: 

    • MBR plants have a relatively small footprint compared to other modern treatment technologies. 
    • MBR plants are power efficient and very reliable. 
    • MBR plants produce very high quality treated effluent in terms of final turbidity (clarity of water) and level of nutrients. 
    • As it is on the same site as the existing plant, minimal vegetation and wildlife will be disturbed. 
    • Equipment will also not cause any noise issues.

    How will waste water be disposed?

    The new MBR plant will provide highly purified water to the existing environmentally-friendly disposal system where effluent is slowly filtered into the sand to a depth of around 80m.

    The new plant will eliminate the need for the raw sewerage balance ponds and ensure a higher quality effluent will slowly filter into the sand.

    What is being done about odour?

    State-of-the-art technology in the new facility will greatly improve odour issues sometimes experienced at the existing facility. This will be achieved through the new treatment process and by covering all holding tanks used before and after treatment. 

    Council recognises odour as a key consideration for the community and has invested significantly in studies and planning to ensure odour is minimised. 

    The plant is being designed with the aim of minimal odour nuisance to surrounding sensitive places such as residential houses. 

    Will the sewerage collection system be upgraded?

    Council plans to invest in a program of works to ensure areas that are not currently connected to the sewer will be connected in coming years. The new wastewater treatment plant will be able to cater for this growth and new properties. The connection of properties currently using septic systems also provides considerable environmental benefits to the Point Lookout community.

    Where can I go for more information?

    Visit wastewater.redland.qld.gov.au/point-lookout and sign up for regular updates and site works notices. Council’s Redland Water officers are available to talk residents through any concerns on 3829 8999.