Germ-Zapping Plant Tackles Antarctic Waste

The Australian Antarctic Division has unveiled a wastewater cleaning plant that will help lessen the environmental impact of remote researchers.

A million dollar germ-zapping machine will purify the wastewater of Australian researchers in Antarctica.

Built in two shipping containers, the technology was unveiled in Hobart on Tuesday following a two-year trial.

Germ-Zapping Plant Tackles Antarctic Waste

Photo: article supplied

It will set sail this summer on icebreaker Aurora Australis en route to Davis research station.

“Once installed, this will be the best treatment system in Antarctica,” Australian Antarctic Division engineer Michael Packer said.

The plant puts kitchen and human wastewater through a process of ozone and ultraviolet disinfection, ultrafiltration, chlorination, biological-activated carbon filtering and reverse osmosis.

The complex process produces clean water which exceeds the Australian and World Health Organisation drinking guidelines.

Division general manager of support and operations, Dr Rob Wooding, said managing waste at remote stations is a challenge.

“This plant is a significant leap forward,” he said.

“While there are no current plans to use the purified water for drinking, it will ensure the water we discharge into the marine environment has a negligible impact.”

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