Stormwater Harvesting at Melbourne Airport
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Leigh Holmes on site at Melbourne Airport.
3 April 2017

Stormwater Harvesting at Melbourne Airport

The March edition of Trenchless Australasia magazine features an interview with Principal Water Engineer, Leigh Holmes on the Melbourne Airport Stormwater Harvesting Scheme and how its original design will see over 130 ML of treated water per year repurposed.

Over five years, Spiire worked in close consultation with Melbourne Airport to design a ‘holistic’ stormwater solution for an area of the airport prone to flooding and poor quality water.

The Airport Drive Extension and Steele Creek North Stormwater Enhancement Project, which was awarded the prestigious Stormwater Australia Excellence in Infrastructure Award last year, encompassed four aspects of water management to create a sustainable water system for years to come: flood mitigation, water conveyance, improved water quality and the recycling of stormwater.

Completed in 2015, it included the installation of a system to recycle water from the airport within the Steele Creek North catchment area, providing an additional water supply as well as improving the quality of the water that is discharged. It also included other aspects of water management, including retention systems, infiltration measures, and rainwater harvesting to improve water quality in receptor water systems.

The project is one of Victoria’s largest stormwater harvesting projects, producing over 130 ML of treated water per year, which is supplied to airport operations and the surrounding areas.

“Put simply, we designed a system that collected all the stormwater, cleaned it and then filtered it back into the end users like the airport’s toilet system, irrigation at the Essendon Football Club’s new facility in Tullamarine, car washing facilities and cooling towers at the airport which use a lot of water,” said Leigh.

The project not only reduced the airport’s water consumption but dramatically improved the water quality of the Steele Creek North catchment.

“There was quite a few issues with water quality downstream too, with organisations such as the Friends of Steele Creek, the EPA regularly monitoring the water, trying to fix what was going on there. As a result, we put together a strategy to help improve the water quality too,” said Leigh.

Spiire is currently working with Melbourne Airport on planning for future works on the site.

Read the full interview with Leigh Holmes in Trenchless Australasia March 2017 edition on page 25 here.

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