BRW top 10 most innovative companies
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We have been named in BRW’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies List for 2015

It’s the first time a water and sewerage service provider has received the prestigious ranking.

Find out more

Our Innovation Program is delivering operational efficiencies, improved safety practices, enhanced customer and environmental outcomes and improvements to our workplace culture.

Through our Research and Development Program, we identify areas for future investment, conduct pilot and trials and work with industry and research partners to explore new and innovative ways to operate to benefit customers and the wider community.

Closely aligned to our strategic direction, our Innovation Program is empowering our employees, enhancing customer service and helping us achieve our purpose and vision.

Award winning projects and partnerships 

Healthy Waterways 2015 Water Services Award

Our Beaudesert Nutrient Offsets Project was awarded the Healthy Waterways 2015 Water Services Award. In an Australian-first, the project:

  • regenerated and rehabilitated an eroded riverbank to prevent five tonnes of nitrogen and 11,000 tonnes of soil from entering the Logan River
  • avoided an $8 million upgrade to the Beaudesert Sewage Treatment Plant. 

Healthy Waterways Government Stewardship 

We were also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Healthy Waterways Government Stewardship category in recognition of:

  • our unique partnership with the Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee (B4C)
  • rehabilitating more than 30 sites
  • planting over 25,000 native trees, covering an impressive area of 236,000 square metres
  • improving the long-term health of urban waterways.

Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology 

In 2015 we were proud to achieve top honours from the Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology in recognition of our:

Australia's first poo-powered car

Our Poo Car runs on electricity generated from sewage at our Oxley Creek Sewage Treatment Plant in Brisbane's west. 

We're converting the waste from 300,000 people into electricity, to run both this electric car and our sewage treatment plant. By harnessing the power of poo, we're not only reducing our operating costs but helping the environment by using a cleaner, greener energy source.

The electricity used to charge the car - a Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (i-MiEV) - is produced by our cogeneration unit. Cogeneration involves capturing the biogas produced from sewage sludge, then using it to drive an engine which creates electricity.

If you see us on the road, make sure to give us a wave! 

poo car

Not all bugs are bad

One of our most exciting long-term trials, and first of its type, involves impressive bacteria called Anammox. We have been growing Anammox with our research partners for the past five years, and now we’re taking steps with industry specialists to put the bugs to good use in the treatment of sewage.  This friendly micro-organism is an energy-efficient nitrogen removal process that uses less oxygen and doesn’t require an extra food source, in contrast to the bacteria currently used in conventional sewage treatment processes.

 

Floating mattresses in Lockyer Valley

They look like a floating mattress but they are far from a resting place. These floating wetlands are a Queensland first, working 24/7 to purify sewage at the Forest Hill Sewage Treatment Plant near Laidley.

The mattresses are part of an innovative trial to grow wetlands on specially engineered plastic mattresses, which are then floated on purpose-built lagoons. Queensland Urban Utilities’ Michelle Cull, said it was a natural, cost effective and energy efficient solution to purifying sewage.

The roots of the plants dangle beneath the mattress drawing out unwanted nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, cleansing the water by trapping sediment and removing toxins. It’s a great example of green engineering and also has the potential to reduce operational costs at the plant. If the trial is successful, it will be rolled out at similar regional sewage treatment plants.

Using new detective technology

We are currently trialling an internationally-renowned leak detection software system called TaKaDu, which allows us to monitor the pressure in our network and detect leaks before they become bursts. This technology provides alerts, reports and real-time insights about our network, meaning we can catch issues early, avoiding costly repairs and the inconvenience a burst may cause our customers, such as a water outage.

Leading the way in solar powered sewage treatment

By harnessing the abundance of sunshine and space across the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley, we are using solar energy to power our sewage treatment plants to benefit our customers, local community and the environment.

Five hundred and fifty solar panels have been installed generating 134 kilowatts of green electricity, cutting grid power use at the facilities by more than 20 per cent. This is equivalent to taking 61 cars off the road for an entire year.

We are one of the first water utilities in Queensland to use solar power in this way, future-proofing sewage treatment with renewable energy.

Transforming waste to resources

We are committed to environmentally sustainable practices, including the production of green power. At the Oxley Creek and Luggage Point Sewage Treatment Plants, the biosolids (sludge removed during the treatment process) undergo a separate treatment to produce biogas. Cogeneration units capture the biogas and produce up to 40 per cent of the plants’ electricity needs, decreasing our reliance on the electricity grid.

Cogen units