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Laminex's Project Goes Underground


Reproduced courtesy of The Courier, Ballarat, 7 May 2008

BALLARAT manufacturer Laminex will cut its reliance on mains water by 1.2 megalitres annually, after installing a rainwater harvesting system at its plant.  The decorative surfaces manufacturer has been looking at ways to become more self-sufficient at its Wendouree plant, after installing a similar system at its Gympie operation.

Through the Rocla ecoRain system, the company can harvest water from its 20,000 square metres of roof area, as well as surface water. This will run through a drainage system into a series of underground tanks, able to hold 90,000 litres of water. A 60,000 litre underground tank was installed last month, and yesterday cranes lowered three 10,000 litre tanks into the ground, completing the system.

Ballarat plant manager Graeme Allen said the company's water use had built up over the past five years to 1.2M annually. While it will still use some mains water, Laminex will use the harvested water in its processes, including treating, amenities and irrigation. The system's storage capacity has been modelled on Ballarat's weather and rainfall patterns to see how much water needs to be stored for the company to be self-sufficient.

Mr Allen said in theory, it meant the company should not need to draw from Ballarat's mains for its use.  "That's the benefit for both us and the local community," he said.  The company is also hoping to get five other Ballarat businesses to install similar systems.

While the project has cost Laminex more than $200,000, Mr Allen said it was important to consider the benefits it would bring.  "It gives us an opportunity to play our part in water conservation, and not be drawing on that amount of water out of the catchment areas," he said.


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