Page 350 - Week 01 - Thursday, 10 February 2022

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Mr Barr: The following answer to the member’s question has been sought from Icon Water Limited (Icon Water), which operates as an independent corporation:

(1) Icon Water advises that Odour Control Units (OCU’s) are a vital part of the sewer network as they allow ventilation and air filtration to protect the sewer pipes from corrosion. OCU ventilation extends the life of a sewer by reducing the amount of maintenance the pipeline needs, making management of the network much more efficient. Ventilation provided by the OCU’s also manages hydrogen sulphide levels within the network to ensure entry to the sewer is safer for the Icon Water maintenance crews.

Potential locations for these OCU’s are quite restricted as they must be located adjacent to the existing Belconnen trunk sewer infrastructure with frequent spacing to manage air pressure in the sewer.

Project planning has been informed by community and stakeholders. The location of the proposed Latham OCU (within Umbagong District Park) has been refined as a direct result of consultation with the Ginninderra Catchment Group. The proposed location was moved so that it is adjacent to existing stormwater infrastructure to minimise the impact on the existing blue devil natural temperate grassland and to be closer to Florey Drive so that maintenance vehicles do not need to traverse too far inside the park. A further refinement was made to the location of the building that was rotated by 90 degrees with a retaining wall included to minimise impacts on a patch of natural temperate grassland located immediately north of the site.

The filters used in the OCU and ventilation stacks adsorb gases such as hydrogen sulphide, which is a common source of odours from sewerage systems. Hydrogen sulphide also reacts with moisture to produce sulphuric acid which corrodes concrete sewer pipes. Inside the unit there is ductwork to extract gas from the sewer. The gas is fed through an activated carbon filter to remove odour, and a ventilation stack releases and disperses the filtered air back out again. The OCU’s are designed to treat odours so they do not smell.

Icon Water is aware that the OCU’s will change the amenity of the areas where they are installed.

Icon Water has been working closely with the community to obtain feedback on how the OCU’s may be finished to minimise this impact. To date community support for mural art work has been expressed similar to that used on the Hindmarsh Drive and One Tree Hill Reservoirs which have received very positive community feedback. Icon Water is still seeking feedback from the community of their preference for finishing the OCU’s.

Icon Water may also be able to reduce visual impacts with plantings. The number of plantings must be consistent with the Development Approval (DA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) although feedback on species selection may be considered, provided it is consistent with parameters of the approvals (i.e. must be native species). Icon Water has been working closely with local environmental groups regarding replanting.

Feedback on OCU finishes and plantings can be provided via the Icon Water website (, or by calling the project dedicated community relations number (1300 131 338).

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