Aerial view over a Melbourne city with a grass field with two glass buildings in the foreground; Aerial view over a Melbourne city with a grass field with two glass buildings in the foreground;

Yarra Park Water Recycling Facility, Melbourne, Victoria

A decade of sustainable water supply for Melbourne Cricket Ground and wider Yarra Park

A decade after completion, it’s clear the Yarra Park Water Recycling Facility project sets a benchmark in water recycling standards for the industry both locally and abroad. 

The facility is designed to meet the requirements of the Melbourne Cricket Club and regulators, with the recycled water used to provide secure, long-term and sustainable supply to the heritage listed Yarra Park, Punt Road Oval and the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.

We were initially engaged by the then Department for Planning and Community Development to create an integrated water management plan for Melbourne’s world-famous sports precinct. MCC then made the decision to proceed with construction of the facility, with support from the state government.

Our team provided multidisciplinary technical and advisory services on this AUD$15m project, including the functional design and performance-based specification for the Class A Recycled Water Plant. In addition to the treatment plant, we undertook the design and specification of the recycled water purple pipe system within the MCG to transfer the Class A water around the facility for toilet flushing.

In the ten years since completion, the innovative outcomes of this Australian-first underground facility have set the framework for recycled water plants in Australia. The sophisticated design and enduring functionality of the facility has been recognised by the state government and broader water industry.

Project Summary

600m3 recycled water per day

900m2underground facility

100,000people accommodated at events

Innovative design for underground water facility

The Yarra Park Water Recycling Facility is situated in a heritage listed park. Key drivers dictated that the project should not subtract from the appearance of the grounds, emit odour, noise or impact the use of the space during large events. These facts led to the innovative decision for the water recycling plant to be located entirely underground – an Australian first.

Recycling 600,000 litres of water per day, the treatment process has innovative features, including a membrane bioreactor combined with a contemporary pre-validated Class A process involving ultrafiltration, and UV and chlorine disinfection. In a state first, the configuration of this technology has enabled the production of high-level water quality which meets EPA requirements; unlike comparable facilities, the water recycled in Yarra Park has consistently produced Class A water for an entire decade. 

A large consideration for the project was ensuring the park was resilient to the future impacts of climate change, such as drought or flooding. The facility enables the MCC to reduce its reliance on mains water, improve the resilience of the park with an alternative, climate-independent water source, and promote the sustainable use of water. The facility was originally designed to provide two distinct modes of operation, summer and winter, which allows lower volumes of recycled water to be produced during winter, as well as varying the nutrient removal levels when irrigating.

Since it’s practical completion in November 2012, this intricate underground water recycling process has been implemented in other recycling facilities across the country.

Since the operation of the Water Recycling Facility began in 2012, the plant has provided pivotal Class-A Water for plumbing usage at the MCG for over 550 major events, while also providing irrigation requirements for 35 hectares of Parklands throughout summer periods, said Scott McGowan, Building Services Coordinator, Melbourne Cricket Club.

As we look into future impacts on climate change, the MCC has proudly protected itself and the surrounding precinct from warming temperatures, while also driving innovation into the water recycling industry. To say the treatment plant has been a success would be an understatement. It is a true testament of what is possible when we all commit to a greener future.

Scott McGowan Building Services Coordinator, Melbourne Cricket Club

Designing with a focus on durability and longevity

Ten years since completion, the facility has set the benchmark for the design of recycled water plants across Australia, through sharing operational and performance learnings with the broader industry. The plant is regarded by the water industry and Victorian Government as a crucial ‘proof of concept’ plant. 

The project brought numerous industry-leading advances. The use of 3D modelling software to help identify operations and maintenance issues resulted in cost savings of 30 per cent in area, and a 15 per cent reduction in bunker depth, which also helped to retain heritage listed trees. The design also took a robust approach to odour control by venting air collected from covered odour sources through a dual process of chemical scrubbing and carbon polishing.

In addition to technical excellence, the physical layout of the facility optimised underground space and was still able accommodate standard maintenance procedures. 

We are very proud to have worked on this project as a technical advisor from concept to completion. I think the innovation involved in this underground plant helped set a framework for the engineering and design of recycled water facilities in our state. ” Wayne Middleton Wayne Middleton Principal | Water – Australasia Leader

The Yarra Park Water Recycling Facility was presented with the President's Award at the 2014 Engineers Australia Victorian Engineering Excellence Awards, the Infrastructure Project Innovation Award at the 2012 Australian Water Association Victorian Branch Awards and was Highly Commended for Sustainability in Design at the 2013 Consult Australia Awards for Excellence.

“TRILITY is very proud to be involved in the ongoing operation of the Yarra Park Water Reclamation Facility; Our close working relationship with the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) has resulted in the facility performing at a consistently high standard throughout recent years with a range of major events occurring at the MCG. We have worked together to position the facility to meet current regulatory expectations whilst poised to perform at a consistently high level for future years. ” Greg Wood Regional Operations Manager, TRILITY

A tour through the Yarra Park Water Recycling Facility, courtesy of Melbourne Cricket Club
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