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Sydney is located where it is today basically because of Captain Phillips’ discovery of what he thought was a viable water source for the new colony — the Tank Stream.

F

History of wastewater treatment in Sydney

or thousands of years the stream was also a place of cultural significance to the Gadigal, the original traditional owners of the Sydney Cove area. The

Tank Stream provided Aboriginal people with an important source of fresh water, food and resources for stone tools. It took less than 40 years for the early settlers to pollute the Tank Stream so badly that by 1826 the colony was forced to find an alternative water supply. The settlers then used the Tank Stream as a drain and a sewer and in 1860 the pollution became so bad that the Tank Stream was covered in stone and the city grew up above it. Until the late 1800s, Sydney’s sewage was largely discharged straight into its harbour. At that time, the Botany Sewage Farm (later to become Malar Treatment Plan) and Bondi Outfall System were commenced to remove sewage from the growing city. The third part of the large ocean treatment and disposal system came with the construction of the North Head system between 1916 and 1930. Over this period, sections of Sydney’s North Shore were sewered, providing for cleaner and safer local environments and providing marked property value uplift. The three major wastewater ocean systems of Malabar, North Head and Bondi saw extensive sewage collection systems constructed. Today these systems collect and transfer almost 80% of Sydney’s sewage from as far west as Blacktown and as far southwest as Campbelltown to the coast for treatment and disposal. Only half of Sydney’s households were

Top: Folly Point Septic Tanks. The main outfall sewer from North Sydney drained to these treatment works. The sewage was run into open septic tanks. The effluent flowed on to sand filter beds which were planted with crops. Bottom left: Liverpool Sewerage Treatment Works — Trickle Filtration Plant. Bottom right: Bondi Sewerage Treatment Works No.1 Sedimentation Tank.

connected to the sewer by the Second World War. This resulted in massive wastewater system investment in the second half of the 1900s.

8 Sustainability Matters - Jun/Jul 2017

Images used with Permission © Sydney Water / WaterNSW Historical Research Archive.

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Sustainability Matters Jun/Jul 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Jun/Jul 2017  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...