Rockhampton Regional Council: improving water quality

Rockhampton Regional Council is responsive to the fact the Fitzroy River estuary is a vitally important waterway supporting an abundance of aquatic wildlife and provides significant recreational value to the local community.

Historically, all of the effluent from Rockhampton’s three Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) was discharged to the Fitzroy River estuary. Implementation of the STP Strategy for Rockhampton over recent years has delivered a significant reduction in nitrogen released to the Fitzroy River estuary. The STP Strategy included the upgrading of the South Rockhampton STP through the installation of a new aeration system and dedicated anoxic zones to improve nitrogen removal. This upgrade work and the construction of a new pipeline enabled the ageing West Rockhampton STP to be decommissioned and its sewage inflow directed to the
upgraded South Rockhampton STP. The completion of other renewal and upgrade works at the nearby North Rockhampton STP have also improved the performance of this STP.

In addition to the upgrades mentioned, work is ongoing to complete the establishment of recycled water schemes and improved biosolids management at the North Rockhampton and South Rockhampton STPs.

  • 90% reduction in ammonia released from South Rockhampton STP to estuary;
  • Up to ~1,000 kg reduction in total Nitrogen released to the estuary each week from the South Rockhampton STP;
  • Decommissioning of the poorly performing trickling filter at the West Rockhampton STP;
  • Securing of ~$750k from the Queensland Government towards establishing a recycled water scheme and mechanical dewatering of biosolids at the South Rockhampton STP;
  • 24% reduction (i.e. 11.7 tonnes less) of total Nitrogen released to estuary in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19 which is the lowest amount released in more than 10 years.

The completion of the STP Strategy to date has seen Council and its commercial business unit Fitzroy River Water invest approximately $8M for these improved environmental outcomes.

In addition, as part of the Rockhampton Region’s Biosecurity Plan, Council continues to manage the risk of introduced plants and animals on the environment, the economy and community.

Council’s Pest Management Team continues to undertake work within the Rockhampton Region to manage and contain water hyacinth, a restricted invasive weed, in the Fitzroy River and to provide landholders with a range of biocontrols that help protect local waterways.