The Regional Renewable Organics Network at Black Rock

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A solution to our waste problem

Barwon Water is planning a ground breaking Regional Renewable Organics Network at the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre.

The facility will take local commercial, industrial, household food and garden waste and wastewater organic waste - known as 'organic waste' - and safety convert it into nutrient-rich products that capture carbon in the ground, improve soil for agricultural uses, and produce renewable energy. In doing so will divert volumes of organic waste away from landfill.

Barwon Water has already established a successful renewable organics network at its Colac Water Reclamation Plant and is building on this achievement.

We are partnering with local councils (Borough of Queenscliffe, City of Greater Geelong, Golden Plains Shire and Surf Coast Shire) to make sure your local needs are met and minimise waste costs for our region.

Watch the video and read our FAQs to find out more about the project, how it works, what it will look like and where we are proposing to locate it:


Why is a Regional Renewable Organics Network needed?

Transforming organic waste into a valuable resource

As our region grows, so too does the need to manage waste. Each year the waste we generate increases at double the rate of our population.

About a third of the waste that ends up in our household bin is food and most of this goes to landfill. This wastes a potential resource and generates greenhouse gases which can cause severe environmental and health issues. The soil products made from the recycled organic waste will have many economic and environmental advantages. They capture carbon in the ground to improve soil, which increases crop production and provides better plant growth. On top of this, it reduces greenhouse gases by locking carbon away from the atmosphere into the soil.

This project provides an innovative solution to manage our increasing amount of waste. It leads the way in the transition to a circular economy, where materials are continually reused and recycled.



Get involved!

We are committed to listening to our community.

Share your feedback

You can continue to share your feedback by:

We are in the project development stage. These early conversations will inform the next stages of the project, including a functional design and technical assessments. The technical assessments will provide more information about how Barwon Water will meet Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements. This includes managing traffic, noise, and odour within EPA standards.

Community conversations to date

Between Friday 9 October 2021 to Friday 26 November 2021 we engaged with the community via webinars, meetings, an online mapping tool and a feedback form. Read our Phase 1 Engagement Report to learn more about the feedback or watch our webinar recording.


Read our FAQs to learn more about how the project is responding to the questions and ideas shared by community during Phase 1 Community Engagement.

A solution to our waste problem

Barwon Water is planning a ground breaking Regional Renewable Organics Network at the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre.

The facility will take local commercial, industrial, household food and garden waste and wastewater organic waste - known as 'organic waste' - and safety convert it into nutrient-rich products that capture carbon in the ground, improve soil for agricultural uses, and produce renewable energy. In doing so will divert volumes of organic waste away from landfill.

Barwon Water has already established a successful renewable organics network at its Colac Water Reclamation Plant and is building on this achievement.

We are partnering with local councils (Borough of Queenscliffe, City of Greater Geelong, Golden Plains Shire and Surf Coast Shire) to make sure your local needs are met and minimise waste costs for our region.

Watch the video and read our FAQs to find out more about the project, how it works, what it will look like and where we are proposing to locate it:


Why is a Regional Renewable Organics Network needed?

Transforming organic waste into a valuable resource

As our region grows, so too does the need to manage waste. Each year the waste we generate increases at double the rate of our population.

About a third of the waste that ends up in our household bin is food and most of this goes to landfill. This wastes a potential resource and generates greenhouse gases which can cause severe environmental and health issues. The soil products made from the recycled organic waste will have many economic and environmental advantages. They capture carbon in the ground to improve soil, which increases crop production and provides better plant growth. On top of this, it reduces greenhouse gases by locking carbon away from the atmosphere into the soil.

This project provides an innovative solution to manage our increasing amount of waste. It leads the way in the transition to a circular economy, where materials are continually reused and recycled.



Get involved!

We are committed to listening to our community.

Share your feedback

You can continue to share your feedback by:

We are in the project development stage. These early conversations will inform the next stages of the project, including a functional design and technical assessments. The technical assessments will provide more information about how Barwon Water will meet Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements. This includes managing traffic, noise, and odour within EPA standards.

Community conversations to date

Between Friday 9 October 2021 to Friday 26 November 2021 we engaged with the community via webinars, meetings, an online mapping tool and a feedback form. Read our Phase 1 Engagement Report to learn more about the feedback or watch our webinar recording.


Read our FAQs to learn more about how the project is responding to the questions and ideas shared by community during Phase 1 Community Engagement.

  • A big thank you for sharing your feedback

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    We’d like to start 2021 by saying a big thank you to everyone who participated in our engagement activities last year. We are currently reviewing the feedback and are excited by the enthusiasm for the project. Community feedback is really critical to progressing the next steps of the project. This includes preparing detailed assessments for noise, traffic and odour. Your feedback at this stage has helped us to understand which parts of the project you support and your interest to see the next level of thinking the detailed assessments will provide. We are currently preparing a report summarising the feedback received and will share this once it is available in the coming months.

    We learned through the engagement activities that the mapping tool is helpful in collecting feedback and questions from community. We had originally planned to close it at the end of the engagement period and will now keep it open. We are also hoping to do community site tours at Black Rock to show where the RRON will be located and provide another opportunity to meet the project team. We will keep you updated on the timing of these tours which are subject to COVID-19 restrictions.

    Thanks again for your interest in the RRON!

  • There's still time to have your say

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    supporting image

    There’s still a few days to go to provide your feedback. We’re really excited about the feedback we’ve received to date. We’re seeing on our interactive map a high level of enthusiasm for the project and a recognition of the benefits it will create for our region. Here’s a little snapshot of the comments on the map.

    We’ve noticed a couple of questions in the pins and wanted to get back to you on these. We’ve responded to these with a blue pin next to the pins that asked the questions. We’ve also updated our traffic FAQ and created two new ones explaining how the project is being funded.

  • Latest news

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    Regional Renewable Organics Network is a step closer

    08 Oct 2021

    Barwon Water and six local councils are joining forces to transform food, garden and commercial organic waste into clean, green renewable energy and nutrient-rich products for agriculture, in a big step forward for the circular economy in Victoria.

    Barwon Water has signed a Heads of Agreement with the councils to progress exploring opportunities for a Regional Renewable Organics Network (RON) at its Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant in Connewarre and the project has received support from the Victorian Government with funding for the business case.

    Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter said the Regional RON would deliver significant environmental, economic and community benefits for the region.

    “The project will convert 40,000 tonnes of organic waste each year into 8,000 tonnes of high-value, nutrient-rich soil enhancers to support local agriculture,” she said.

    “It also provides a local, long-term and lower financial and environmental cost waste solution for councils and their ratepayers, and reduces Barwon Water’s energy costs by helping to power the Black Rock Water Reclamation Plant, keeping customer bills affordable.”

    Ms Slatter said the Regional RON would boost the local economy by also creating 75 construction jobs and 36 ongoing jobs.

    The project proposes the construction of a state-of-the-art and sustainable organics processing facility to be operational by mid-2024.

    The facility would be compact, measuring approximately 170 metres by 200 metres. It would take up a 3.4-hectare section of the broader 290-hectare Black Rock site, or about 1.2% of the entire Black Rock site.

    The facility will operate under the same principles as the Colac Renewable Organics Network at Barwon Water’s Colac Water Reclamation Plant, which, among other things, converts the gas produced by the organic matter as it breaks down into renewable electricity.

    The Colac RON was created in partnership with Australian Lamb Company and Bulla Dairy Foods and converts organic trade waste from those companies into soil enhancers and renewable energy, which is taking the Colac plant of the grid, saving money and reducing carbon emissions.

    Both the Regional and Colac RONs have received support from the Victorian Government to progress business cases and approval from the Minister for Water to proceed.

    Minister for Water Lisa Neville said the Regional Renewable Organics Network would help the water sector lead the way in tackling climate change.

    “Projects like this play an important role in Victoria’s target of zero emissions by 2030 as well as lowering Barwon Water’s productions costs, which will help keep water bills down for their customers.”

    Minister Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the project would help reduce waste while producing cleaner energy.

    “This project will generate enough renewable electricity to power the equivalent of 500 homes and reduce the region’s carbon emissions by between 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes, the equivalent of taking more than 4,000 cars off the road.”

    A concept design of the proposed Regional Renewable Organics facility at Black Rock. The facility would be compact, measuring approximately 170 metres by 200 metres. It would take up a 3.4-hectare section of the broader 290-hectare Black Rock site, or about 1.2% of the entire site.



    Evolution of Black Rock site in Connewarre

    Ms Slatter said the Regional RON would continue the evolution of the Black Rock site as a world-class facility for clean, safe resource generation, sustainable infrastructure and water security.

    The site was already home to a 3-megawatt solar farm that supplies up to 35% of the plant’s electricity use (the Regional RON will provide an additional 14%) and has the capacity to produce two billion of Class A recycled water and 25 billion litres of Class C recycled water.

    “There is a unique opportunity to locate the Regional RON facility at the Black Rock site to leverage our existing infrastructure and tap into the benefits of using renewable energy to power our energy-intensive operations,” Ms Slatter said.

    “The Regional RON will lead the way in our region’s transition to a circular economy, where materials are continually reused and recycled to increase their lifespan, add value and reduce waste.

    “We are delighted to be partnering with local government for this unique and exciting project.

    “By working together we can reduce waste, reduce energy costs, create jobs and help our region prosper.”


    Community invited to be involved in the Regional RON

    Ms Slatter invited the community to learn more about the Regional RON proposal and to share their views throughout October and November 2021.

    Barwon Water will be holding a series of community webinars and information sessions with opportunities to ask questions, address areas of interest and have input into the early stages of the project’s design.

    “We want to hear from our community about what is important to them as we design the facility and hope they can be involved every step of the way as this exciting project progresses,” Ms Slatter said.


Page last updated: 29 Sep 2022, 04:47 PM