Laminex achieves water self-sufficiency in parched Ballarat

Rocla helped The Laminex Group achieve water self-sufficiency at its Ballarat production facility with a stormwater harvesting solution that collects and treats 90,000 litres of stormwater and stores it underground for reuse.

Over the course of a year, the system is capable of supplying 1.2 million litres of rainwater, which is 100% of the plant’s operating water usage, including production processes, toilet flushing and garden irrigation.

Water storage in the Ballarat area is extremely low, falling below 9% in March 2008, and the river systems are over-stressed. With the real threat of water restrictions, stormwater harvesting was vital for Laminex to be able to plan production activities with confidence.

The underground storage solution designed and supplied by Rocla includes a 60kL ecoHarvest® stormwater harvesting system and a 30kL ecoRainPlus® rainwater utilisation system.

At the rear of the main factory buildings, the 60kL ecoHarvest® system catches both roof run-off and surface drainage water, taking advantage of an existing stormwater drainage line to treat and harvest the stormwater. Before entering the storage cells, stormwater is treated by a gross pollutant trap, a P0708 CDS® Unit, then two high-flow submersible pumps return the stored water for the plant’s gurney wash-down water when required.

The 30kL ecoRainPlus® system captures roof water from the front of the main factory building, also through an existing stormwater drainage pipe. Two high-flow submersible pumps supply the stored water for toilet flushing and garden irrigation.

Being underground, the tanks are out of sight and also protect the water from insects, bacteria and algae. The steel-reinforced concrete tanks are trafficable and it is possible to build above them, providing Laminex with flexibility for future expansion plans.

Water balance modelling was conducted by Rocla Water Quality to determine the most economical storage sizes, taking into account the drought-induced conservative rainfall patterns and the intended water uses.

The tanks were installed by On Time Building Trades, with the help of Wayne Home Earthmoving, Ballarat Cranes and Craig Paxman Engineering Concepts.

The installation is part of a Laminex program to make its manufacturing and major distribution centres water self-sufficient. To date this has been achieved at two manufacturing plants, Gympie (Queensland) and Ballarat.