22 April 2021

Barwon Water Talk

Article by Ms Jessica Miller

Barwon Water Talk

Year 11 VCE Environmental Science students were involved in an incursion at the end of Term 2 looking at waste water and how it is treated on the Bellarine Peninsula.

Ferdinand Garcia from Barwon Water visited our classroom (as excursions are on hold for now due to COVID restrictions) to detail the ways that waste water from our kitchens, bathrooms and laundries is treated at the Black Rock Sewerage Treatment plant.

The interactive talk included fascinating information on microorganisms that are used to "eat up" the sewerage in a process that reduces suspended solids and organic material by 98%. Additional microbes focus on reducing the nutrient content of the water by breaking down nitrogen into nitrogen gas and absorbing phosphorus into their tissues.

The treated water is then clean enough to be pumped into the ocean at Black Rock near the end of 13th Beach.

Students also learned about tertiary treatment of water involving reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light treatment and the possible uses of this water on sports grounds, tree lots and farms.

An additional resource created from water treatment is biosolids - used for fertiliser on farms and as a fuel source.

This information helped students begin to think about the impacts of humans on the local environment and water resources and seed ideas for their major project this Semester, sampling and assessing human impacts on local ecosystems.

Jessica Miller  Science teacher