Biosolids plant in victoria
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Full article issued as part of the 'Our Research' publication by the Australian Technology Network.

Distinguished Professor Andrew Ball is leading the establishment of the ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource at RMIT, bringing together expertise from universities, water management authorities and industry to transform the way biosolids – one of two major end products of treated wastewater – are managed in Australia.

Biosolids are used in agriculture as a nutrient amendment that maintains soil fertility, stimulates plant growth and improves farm productivity. South East Water, which delivers water, sewerage and recycled water services to 1.79 million people in Melbourne, produces around 3,000 dry tonnes of biosolids each year, a figure that is projected to triple over the next 30 years.

Professor Ball's team have identified a new technique to isolate and enumerate pathogens in biosolids, reducing the amount of time required to process biosolids in expensive and odorous storage facilities, as currently required by government regulations.

Already research from RMIT’s Centre for Environment, Sustainability and Remediation in collaboration with industry partners, the Victorian Environmental Protection Authority has changed regulation to cut minimum storage times to 12 months rather than three years at specific sites.

The new ARC Training Centre will transform the way biosolids are managed in Australia, provide global leadership in environmentally sustainable practices, and support the development of the circular economy through multiple new smart carbon products converted from otherwise polluting biowaste. 

Photo credit: 

A biosolids plant in Victoria. Credit: RMIT.