Diver goes deep to keep waste moving

November 17, 2023 BY

Rank tank: Mark from East West Dive and Salvage has been part of the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant aerator replacement works. Photos: PETER WEAVING

AN important but unpleasant job is being undertaken by some divers in Epsom.

Eighteen of the 24 big aerators in the Bendigo Water Reclamation Plant’s wastewater tanks, which receive the city’s toilet, sink and grey water, are being replaced after 10 years of use.

“If you can imagine a series of large, motorised mixing blades submerged in tanks, these are the aerators,” said Bendigo WRP acting program director Cameron Patrick.

“Their job is to churn and mix the wastewater shortly after its arrival at the plant. The aerators promote aerobic digestion.

“As they churn up the water, they introduce oxygen to the tanks, which helps the biological treatment process.

“We replaced six aerators in August last year, so we’re now focused on the remainder so they can continue to serve the plant into the future.”

A crane is lowering a scaffold into the wastewater tanks so the divers can take the weight and pressure off the aerators, and access them.

Then they remove the bolts so the aerators can be taken out and replaced with new ones.

“The amazing thing is, the replacement work is done completely by feel,” Mr Patrick said. “The water is not clear, so these divers are under the water without visibility.

“We have a strict safety management process that we’ll be adhering to during these works.”

Work on the aerators began on 8 November and is expected to be finished by the end of the weekend.

The Bendigo WRP treats all the wastewater from homes and businesses across the city.