Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre
The Lower Molonglo Water Quality Control Centre (LMWQCC) is the main treatment facility for Canberra and is the largest inland treatment facility in Australia.
Located alongside the Molonglo River, one kilometre upstream from the junction with the Murrumbidgee River, LMWQCC treats more than 90 million litres of Canberra's sewage each day. The process includes physical, chemical, and biological treatment processes before the water is discharged into the Molonglo River.
As the sewage enters LMWQCC, a range of objects are collected by a screening process. Some interesting finds include goldfish, dentures and a range of children's toys. Some items can be seen in the screen room during tours of the facility.
ACTEW Water's treatment process ensures that the water that is discharged into the Molonglo River has minimal impact on the environment and downstream users. The ACT Environmental Protection Act 1997, under which LMWQCC operates, sets strict licence conditions aimed at protecting the rivers into which water is discharged. LMWQCC meets these licence requirements, including chemical testing and biological monitoring programs.
Extensive monitoring is undertaken to ensure water quality, and ecological monitoring, such as the Fish Monitoring Program, provides information on the river's health. The numbers of macro invertebrates, which are small crustaceans and insects, are also monitored regularly. The treated water from LMWQCC plays an important role in keeping the rivers flowing, especially during dry periods.
In line with ACTEW Water's commitment to ecological sustainability, LMWQCC has developed an Environmental Management Program. LMWQCC was the first sewage treatment facility in Australia to gain certification for the following International Standards:
- AS/NZS ISO 9002 - Quality Management Systems
- AS/NZS ISO 14001 - Environmental Management Systems
During the treatment process all of the solid material, which is called "sewage sludge", is removed and incinerated in a high temperature furnace. The resulting ash, Agri-Ash, is sold to farmers as a soil conditioner.
These are also a number of water reuse projects operating within the ACT, which treat wastewater for reuse in the irrigation of parks, playing fields and golf courses.