Drouin Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade

We've upgraded Drouin's wastewater treatment plant
Watch an update from Tim, Senior Engineer (August 2022)

This completed projected upgraded the Drouin wastewater treatment plant. The plant will now meet the needs of Drouin’s population now and into the future.


Update - March 2024

We recently turned on Australia’s largest floating solar system at the plant.

The 350kWp array floats on the lagoons and will help power the site. The additional source of clean, renewable energy reduces our costs and emissions while maintaining a reliable and affordable service

Update - October 2023

We completed construction and opened a publicly accessible bird hide adjacent to the Drouin wastewater treatment plant. The hide overlooks the treatment lagoons with their abundant birdlife. Access is from Settlement Road, 150m west of the main entrance to the wastewater treatment plant. 

The bird hide includes accessible design features, allowing it to be enjoyed by the whole community, including people who use a wheelchair. 

Update - August 2022

This new plant is now operational and successfully treating wastewater. We are fine-tuning its operation, making adjustments to equipment and processes to maximise the plant performance. This will go on for some months. Installation of floating solar panels on the lagoon to provide renewable energy for the plant will be completed by the end of the year.

Update – March 2022

Our new $55 million Drouin wastewater treatment plant has reached another milestone, with commissioning – a period of extensive testing and fine tuning of the new equipment and processes – now underway. This is expected to continue through most of 2022 with the plant being operational in 2023.

Landscaping of the site is also well underway. In mid-2022, we’ll begin installing solar panels, to equip the plant with renewable energy. These will be installed to float on our existing lagoon – an innovative use of the site and lagoon. 

Update - March 2021

A milestone has been reached, as foundation works and construction of the actual building is now mostly complete and we have moved into the fit-out stage. Plant equipment has arrived on site, and is being installed. 

Update - September 2020

Construction continued through winter with significant works undertaken on the main treatment element called the membrane bioreactor. In addition, a number of concrete pours have taken place for the main building and other facilities. 

Questions and answers

Drouin’s population is growing rapidly and this means we needed to expand the capacity of the previous wastewater (sewage) treatment plant to meet the town’s needs.  

After weighing up environmental, technical, social and economic factors, we assessed that the best course of action is to build a new mechanical treatment plant on the existing site on Settlement Road.

Different options were considered for treating Drouin’s wastewater including:

  • Having a variety of satellite wastewater treatment plants around Drouin;
  • Keeping a single, central Drouin wastewater treatment plant (which would require the existing treatment plant to be upgraded); and
  • A single treatment plant for both Warragul and Drouin.

After studying the options available, the lowest-cost option for customers was to maintain a single, central treatment plant for Drouin and undertake a major upgrade at that facility.

We then looked at different options to establish the best outcome for Drouin’s future.

These included:

  • constructing additional lagoons; and
  • constructing a mechanical treatment plant.

There was no room for additional lagoons on the existing site, meaning additional land would need to be purchased. This was considered a very expensive option.

Alternatively, a mechanical treatment plant can be constructed on the same site and is much more cost effective than constructing additional lagoons.

It also provides higher quality treated wastewater for reuse or returning to the environment.

Building a new mechanical plant offers the best value to Gippsland Water customers and the community.

This new mechanical plant will work together with the existing lagoon system to produce wastewater that is suitable for returning to the environment.

The upgrade will ensure a more flexible and robust wastewater treatment facility that delivers sustainable and affordable wastewater treatment to the residents of Drouin.

Improving the reliability of the plant has several community and environmental benefits:

  • Cleaner wastewater means less odour for nearby residents and better protection of public health.
  • The treated water released from the new treatment plant will be of higher quality, therefore protecting the ecology of local waterways and Westernport Bay.
  • Producing high quality treated wastewater could allow us to recycle more wastewater for irrigation.

Solar panels will be installed onsite to help run the plant.