Creating a social and environmental legacy for future generations

In the past, we’ve talked about the end result of industry at its worst – notably, the dioxins present in Sydney Harbour courtesy of Union Carbide. But there is another, far more positive side to the equation.

The recently constructed Gippsland Water Factory takes highly contaminated wastewater from a large pulp mill in Victoria’s Gippsland region and treats it for re-use in the factory or returns it to the environment, free of contaminants. (See link to story below) It also uses a number of energy-generating technologies including a mini-hydro system and biogas generating plant.

The Gippsland Water Factory has set the new 'green' engineering benchmark for wastewater treatment plants in Australia.

While this plant no doubt required substantial investment to build, the long-term benefits of projects like these (and the costs of not undertaking them) must be taken into consideration. While we are still paying the price for ‘the sins of our fathers’ (and their pesticide factories), plants like the Gippsland Water Factory will leave a healthier and richer environment for our children and theirs.

With the assistance and guidance of Government at all levels, every industry could (should) take this approach and invest in our future, not just in short-term returns that may look better on balance sheets. But how do we change the attitude of Corporate Australia? Is it already changing?

The Gippsland Water Factory is much more than a wastewater treatment project – it’s creating a social and environmental legacy for future generations. Professionals in the water industry in particular seem more and more willing to strive for excellence, searching for and achieving innovative solutions, while remaining mindful of the accountants and their balance sheets. If the solutions become easier and more cost effective to implement, they will have fewer reasons not to clean up their acts.

And the world will be a better place



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