24 November 2023

Adaminaby sewerage system overhauled with $11.5 million upgrade

| Ryan Bourke
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Monaro MP Steve Whan cuts the ribbon on Adaminaby's new sewerage plant.

Monaro MP Steve Whan opened the new plant. Photo: Steve Whan MP.

A brand new sewerage system in Adaminaby is now online following the construction of an $11.5 million wastewater treatment facility.

Jointly funded by the NSW Government ($3.35 million) and Snowy Monaro Regional Council ($8.15 million), the new state-of-the-art bioreactor replaces an older plant built in 1962.

In addition to modernised treatment methods and technology, the new system also has double the capacity of its predecessor.

Despite a series of challenges caused by the pandemic and La Niña, the plant was officially opened on 20 October.

Speaking to Region, project manager Andrew Sharkie says that by doubling sewerage capacity, the new plant allows the town to maximise accommodation during the ski season without overwhelming the system.

“They can maximise accommodation, they can maximise development, they can grow that town as much as they want to and never have to worry if the sewerage works can keep up,” he said.

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Planning on the project started in 2020. While construction began the following year, it quickly encountered pandemic-related delays that affected the availability of equipment and caused a shortage of materials.

Andrew said contractors also struggled to rebuild their workforce following the end of social distancing and quarantine restrictions.

While the project eventually overcame these challenges, more problems arose the following year as a result of the wet weather caused by La Niña.

“All of our geotechnical investigations occurred in 2019 when it was dry, so the groundwater issues we encountered during the earthworks in 2022 were not anticipated,” Andrew said.

As for the old plant, Andrew said the council has given approval for its use by Snowy Hydro to build a new nursery, with the scheme requiring 60,000 trees over the next eight years for environmental rehabilitation.

“That’s good for us because it will take out and reuse most of the wastewater generated by the new plant,” he said.

Monaro MP Steve Whan stands before the new sewerage plant in Adaminaby.

The new system has double the capacity of its predecessor. Photo: Steve Whan MP.

In a statement released last month, NSW Water Minister Rose Jackson labelled the new plant “a major step forward for Adaminaby.”

“We know the Snowy Mountains are an environmentally sensitive area, so it’s crucial that we deliver infrastructure upgrades like this to ensure they have the facilities needed to deliver high-quality wastewater treatment.”

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Monara MP Steve Whan also hailed the plant’s completion.

“With funds always tight for regional councils, it has been great to see local and state government working collaboratively to achieve this great outcome for Adaminaby,” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Mayor Chris Hanna, who praised the project for supporting local jobs.

“The project has involved up to 40 full-time employees and engaged up to 15 different contractors, which is a massive win for local businesses.”

With a capacity of 180 kilolitres a day, the new plant is capable of servicing 830 people and is expected to operate for the next 50 years.

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