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Historic Newcastle pump station to undergo $5m upgrade

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One of the region’s largest and longest-running wastewater pump stations is set to undergo a $5 million upgrade.

Early work will start this week in preparation for the major enhancement on the Newcastle West 1 facility, next to the Marketown Shopping Centre car park, in 2023.

During the next fortnight, Hunter Water and its contractors are scheduled to install an interim odour control unit connected to a standard-size, modern ventilation stack.

It replaces the 27m-high version that has formed part of the Newcastle city skyline for more than 100 years.

Asset solutions group manager Justin Watts said the unit would not only improve community amenity but also protect the pump station and sewer pipes from corrosion.

“Newcastle West 1 is one of our biggest wastewater pump stations,” he explained.

“It transfers to Burwood Beach treatment works the wastewater from all or parts of 15 inner Newcastle suburbs: Adamstown, Broadmeadow, Carrington, Hamilton, Hamilton East, Hamilton North, Hamilton South, Islington, Maryville, Mayfield, Mayfield East, New Lambton, Tighes Hill and Wickham and Newcastle CBD.

“Installing, at first, an interim odour control unit and then a permanent one during the major upgrade will greatly reduce the unpleasant experience some residents and shoppers have experienced on occasion in the past by extracting and filtering bad-smelling gases like hydrogen sulphide, also known as rotten egg gas.

“Reducing hydrogen sulphide also limits corrosion, extending the sewerage system’s operational life and making network management and maintenance more efficient.

“There are about 12,500 residents in these 15 inner Newcastle suburbs and, even though the pump station has ample capacity now, they will continue to grow including several new multi-storey residential apartment buildings, which is why we’re planning for the future.”

The early work and next year’s major upgrade expand on Hunter Water’s actions in 2021, which included installing extra pipework to reduce turbulent flow in the below-ground structures and replacing ground-level covers and hatches to better contain odours.

The company is in the development phase for the enhancements, part of its program to replace and improve water and wastewater-related assets across the region.

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