Tamworth City wastewater reuse project case study

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Courtesy of Lindsay Corporation

Lindsay Pivots and Pumps Provide for City’s Wastewater Needs

Summary
How do you successfully complete one of the largest wastewater treatment projects of its kind in Australia? With a full arsenal of Lindsay products, including pivots, pumps and remote telemetry.

With the city’s population expected to grow to nearly 50,000 by 2020, the Tamworth City Council, Australia, decided to decommission one of its two existing wastewater treatment plants, and augment the other to treat all of the town’s wastewater.

Today, instead of being dumped into the nearby Peel River, the town’s treated wastewater is pumped through Zimmatic® by Lindsay pivots and used to irrigate local crops, which then are sold to local dairies and feedlots.

Challenge
Tamworth was looking for a solution to better manage wastewater and conserve land and water resources.

The Tamworth City wastewater reuse project needed a customized, integrated system that would move the effluent from holding ponds onto grain and alfalfa (lucerne) crops.

The project, licensed by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, required significant environmental monitoring, including soil, groundwater, hydraulic and nutrient balance monitoring.

In addition, the project required accurate recording of the volume of wastewater applied through the pivots, high rainfall shutdown capabilities and “burst pipe” alarms.

Tamworth City officials also needed a single-source supplier for this customized system. They especially wanted to avoid a hodge-podge of various technologies being cobbled together and requiring considerable time, management and expenses.

Solution
The Tamworth City wastewater reuse project was 10 years in the making and designed to secure the city’s effluent disposal volume through to 2025, forecast to be approximately 1,585 million gallons per year (6,000 ML/year), with future expansion capabilities built into the system if needed.

TEAM Irrigation, Lindsay’s local Zimmatic dealer in Dubbo, NSW, Australia, spearheaded the project, which took approximately 12 months to complete.

 “We were proud to be involved in the project from conception,” says Craig Chandler, managing director of TEAM Irrigation. “This multimillion-dollar project was unique in that it involved numerous Lindsay products, including the pivots, pumps and all of the controls.”

It was a total team effort involving Realm Agribusiness, which served as the principal contractor on the project, and manages the irrigation system and nearby farming operation

The following arsenal of Lindsay products were deployed to solve the city’s wastewater treatment needs.

ZIMMATIC Pivots
The town’s treated water is pumped through 13 new Zimmatic polylined center pivots, ranging in length from 1,772 feet (540 m) to 778 feet (237 m). They are designed to apply .36 inches (9 mm) of water over the fields in a 24-hour period.

Top-of-the-line Zimmatic poly-lined pipes, perfect for corrosive water conditions, were used for the project. The poly-lined pipes are designed for long life and harsh environments, including wastewater applications.

Lindsay experts designed a special pivot sprinkler package for the Tamworth project, taking into account the unique crop, soil and water variables at Tamworth.

“The sprinkler type and size was designed to provide uniform application across a range of soils, from heavy black clays to lighter red loam soils, all while minimizing drift potential,” Chandler says.

Watertronics Pump Station
Key to the innovative wastewater treatment project is a fullyintegrated Lindsay Watertronics® pump station that is used to move the effluent from holding ponds through the Zimmatic pivots and ultimately onto 1,581 acres (640 ha) of grain and alfalfa (lucerne) crops.

According to John Atkinson, Watertronics agricultural sales manager, the Tamworth pumping station consists of five 215 horsepower (160 kw) centrifugal pumps, each capable of pumping 2,400 gallons (9,085 liters) per minute.
The pump station was custom engineered and performance-tested at the Watertronics manufacturing facility in Hartland, Wisconsin, and then delivered to Tamworth as a factory-assembled unit for fast, easy installation.

“The pump station design was a combined effort of Realm Agribusiness, Team Irrigation and Watertronics,” Atkinson says. “The result is a sophisticated yet practical degree of automation, management and monitoring.” The pumps are equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs) to specifically tune pressure and flow characteristics to each pump, ensuring near perfect pressure regulation.

Electronic butterfly valves complement the VFD controls, regulating the pressure of each pump and providing backup pressure regulation in the event of a VFD failure.

Fieldnet Wireless Control Technology
Lindsay’s FieldNET with pump control and Dynamic Demand Control (DDC) are used to integrate, monitor and automate the entire Tamworth wastewater reuse project. Pumps and pivots are operated at the most energyefficient level. The result: maximum performance, substantial energy savings and minimum management and labor required to operate the system.

DDC allows the Tamworth pivots to be grouped with the pump station for powerful information-sharing which reduces energy costs. The pumps are operated at the most energyefficient setpoint and then automatically sequence to effectively meet demand. “FieldNET is critical as far as monitoring and controlling all of the system components, including text message alerts. With an effluent project like this, there is no room for accidents and a broken pipe would spell disaster if it was allowed to go unchecked,” Chandler says. “FieldNET and the DDC controls really tie the entire system together into one integrated, easy-to-use platform.”

Results
The Tamworth wastewater reuse project allows for a maximum daily effluent discharge of 14.2 million gallons (54 ML). It irrigates 1,581 acres (640 ha) of local crops such as grain and alfalfa (lucerne), which are then sold locally.

The alfalfa (lucerne) crop yields approximately 6,000 dry matter tons of hay and silage. Other crops include cereal and canola seed production in the winter and grain sorghum and seed corn production in the summer.

Approximately 25 percent of the fodder produced is used to feed a 600-cow dairy located close by, with the balance sold on the open market. “This was our biggest wastewater project we have been involved in for crop irrigation and in terms of effluent water,” Chandler says. “It’s great knowing that our technology and products can be used to irrigate crops rather than dumping the wastewater into the river.” Ian Cross, Water Construction & Contracts Engineer at the Tamworth Regional Council, noted that the Tamworth wastewater management project was 10 years in the making and is probably the largest project of its kind in Australia.

 “All of the irrigation system components worked according to design,” Cross says. “We’re basically taking 1,585 million gallons per year (6,000 ML/year) of wastewater and keeping it from going into the river and applying it to crops instead. This means less salt and nutrient loads in the river stream. The system is designed to operate to year 2025 at predicted flow rates, with future expansion if needed.”

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