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2 May 2011

The secret is out.... Our industry is becoming more sustainable, our environment is justifiably becoming a priority, and at NHP we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of this important industry direction.

NHP’s involvement in the recent Cleaner Seas Project in Cairns serves as another example of where NHP products have proven they are ideal for ‘sustainable’ projects and are able to service a wide range of custom applications.

As part of their obligation to meet the requirements of the Queensland State Government's Coastal Management Plan, Cairns Regional Council initiated the Cleaner Seas Alliance which involved extensive upgrades at four major wastewater treatment plants over the course of the last three years.

The $188M project was based around upgrading the Marlin Coast Treatment Plant, the Northern Treatment Plant, the Southern Treatment Plant, and the Edmonton Treatment Plant, and was officially opened on Friday April 9, 2010 by Local Government Minister and Member for Cairns, Ms Desley Boyle.

The major goals of the work undertaken on these projects included: 

  • Reducing the nutrients being discharged to the Great Barrier Reef by up to 80%
  • Increasing the capacity of the plants given the rapidly increasing population and region of Cairns
  • Capturing water enabling the re-use of recycled water around the botanical gardens and the airport

Meeting these goals required the development of a number of new facilities that included Bioreactors, SMF Structures, Clarifiers, Pre-Treatment Areas and UV Disinfection.

UGL Infrastructure was an integral member of the Alliance, and was responsible for the electrical design and delivery of the project.

“Prior to the upgrade, the plants had limited automation which meant most operation was performed manually. The technological advancements have ensured full automation, with minimal operator intervention required”,
said Karen Eaton, Principal Control & Instrumentation Engineer, UGL Infrastructure Water.

“One of the big modernisations of the project was the Automation and Control element.  Operators can monitor the plant from a central location, and all the plants are networked to council chambers”.

In line with the objectives of these four separate upgrades, with the help of NHP, the projects were fitted with a number of Cubic MCC’s and Main Switchboards, Finder Relays, IME Current transformers, Fuses and Terminals. A large range of Rockwell Automation products including the Allen-Bradley range of integrated drives software were also installed, proving to be a vital component in terms of minimising energy consumption.

“NHP represent the Rockwell Automation products in Queensland and for this project we used a large suite of these including PLCs, Ethernet switches and Allen-Bradley PowerFlex VSD’s – so it was really a showcase project for this range”, Eaton continued when speaking of the value of The Rockwell Automation range to the project.
“Throughout the project we were conscious that all decisions needed to take this into account and it’s been a real advantage that NHP have a specialised branch in Cairns. We deal with NHP quite regularly and their service and accessibility has always been excellent”.

Given that Cairns is relatively remote from the rest of Australia, the technology needed to be designed in a way that would ensure it would be easily maintainable whilst also providing easy to access spares in the event that equipment would need to be replaced.

“At NHP, we are committed to not only fitting projects with the required products, but equally value our after sales service. We are pleased to have established a Parts Management Agreement (PMA) with the Cairns Regional Council to decrease the size of the spares required to support this vital infrastructure, and ensure we are there when required”, said Mark Smedts, NHP Regional Sales Representative - Cairns.

The upgraded facilities have considerably expanded capacity to meet population growth predictions catering for a population of more than 200,000 people, and the high quality recycled water will aid non-drinking re-use purposes such as industrial cooling applications, concrete production and dust suppression, irrigation on golf courses, parks and sporting grounds, and agriculture.

“Combining our Distribution rights for the Rockwell Automation range with our ability to provide support for the infrastructure that was installed at the four plants has ensured our relationship with the Cairns Regional Council is one that will continue well into the future”, Smedts continued.

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