Will the treated water released from the AWRC cause flooding or make flooding events worse?

    The flood modelling that we conducted during the planning phase shows that water releases from the AWRC will not increase flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean or South Creek catchments.  

    The project also complies with the NSW Floodplain Manual, which prohibits projects that increase flood risks and flood extent. 

    For example, the AWRC would only contribute a maximum of 5mm to any flood event, such as the flooding experienced during February 2021.  This is not enough to make any existing flooding event substantially worse - as demonstrated in the below visual representation. 

    What are the benefits of environmental flows?

    The benefits of environmental flows include: 

    • improving river health by adding fresh, pure water 

    • protecting aquatic ecosystems 

    • reducing aquatic weeds and frequency of algal blooms 

    • diluting chemicals and other impurities in the river 

    • improving conditions for native fish, frogs, water birds and river-dependent plants and animals that rely on different flows to trigger migration and breeding.  

    For more information on environmental flows visit the Water NSW website 

    What about flora and fauna? Will they be impacted by construction?

    Sydney Water is committed to providing the best outcomes for the environment. We will have environmental measures in place to minimise biodiversity impacts including pre-clearance surveys, delineating no-go zones to protect vegetation and restoring areas where native vegetation is removed.  

    Sydney Water will also implement a Biodiversity Offset Strategy to further offset residual impacts, in accordance with NSW Government guidelines including the Biodiversity Offset Scheme. A detailed Biodiversity Development Assessment Report was completed as part of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

    No significant impacts are predicted on threatened plants, animals or ecological communities, protected under NSW or Commonwealth legislation, the impacts are considered acceptable for the scale of the project. 

    To find out more see Section 9.1 in the EIS. 

    Will the new infrastructure cause odour issues?

    Pipeline operation is expected to cause negligible air quality impacts. The AWRC includes an odour control unit to treat odorous air that could arise from odour generated by wastewater treatment and oxides of nitrogen generated by combustion within the co-generation unitModelling of odour releases completed as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and, in accordance with NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines, shows the project can meet EPA odour criteria at the AWRC site boundary and at the nearest sensitive receivers. Modelling of nitrogen dioxide also shows that EPA criteria can be met at the AWRC boundary and nearest sensitive receivers. 

    An Odour Management Plan (OMP) for the AWRC will be preparedmaintained and implemented prior to and as part of operations. 

    What is circular economy?

    The circular economy concept involves reusing, repairing, and recycling materials, designing out waste and pollution, and keeping products in use as long as possible. A circular economy moves us away from single use materials and unsustainable forms of consumption. Read further information in our brochure - Unlocking the circular economy in the Western Parkland City. 

    What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

    AEnvironmental Impact Statement (EIS) describethe project and assesses its environmental and community impacts. Sydney Water submitted its EIS to Department of Planning and Environment in September 2021it was on public exhibition from 21 October to Wednesday 17 November 2021, providing the community with an opportunity to review and make submissions on the findings presented in the document.  

    To view documents related to the EIS such as Environmental Impact Statement Submissions ReportAmendment Report and Submission Report - Project Amendments visit the Upper South Creek Advanced Water Recycling page on the NSW Planning Portal. 

    The project was approved by NSW Minister for Planning on 28 November 2022, the Minister’s Conditions of Approval are available here. It was subsequently approved by the Commonwealth Government on 17 February 2023, the conditions of approval are available here 



    Why does Sydney Water need to remove trees along Park Road?

    We try and avoid removing trees wherever we can but sometimes we need to do this as part of delivering such a large infrastructure project. 

    To address the vegetation removal, we have committed to:
     • changing the pipe route and construction method at several locations across the project to preserve trees that were previously going to be cleared

    • offsetting the amount of cleared vegetation by preserving similar vegetation in other areas

    • investigating with the City of Penrith and Transport for NSW the opportunity to replant suitable native species along parts of Park Road (subject to road safety rules and the protection of underground utilities).

    The vegetation and trees that have been a cleared are being put to good use. We are working with local organisations including the City of Penrith to reuse as much of the cleared vegetation as possible. We are also collecting seeds (including from Cumberland Plain Woodland species) for propagation and planting elsewhere along the project corridor. 

    You will notice our workers clearing vegetation along Park Road from early 2024.


    Could the treated water pipe have been placed somewhere else?

    The location of the pipe along Park Road was decided after we considered the existing vegetation impacts, overheard power lines, an existing underground water main, private property boundaries, traffic impacts and safe working distances during construction. 

    This work is consistent with the project’s environmental approval. 

    Will Sydney Water be replanting the vegetation that was removed?

    We are working with the City of Penrith and Transport for NSW to develop a suitable replanting approach for Park Road. Where possible, we will plant suitable native plant species along the cleared area. Other considerations include not planting under power lines, providing good line of sight for drivers exiting their driveways and providing a safe space between the edge of the road and any large trees.