Case Study: Burwood Brickworks

Burwood Brickworks is set to become the world’s most sustainable retail centre, through adherence to the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Acknowledged globally as the most rigorous performance standard in the built-environment, the LBC focuses on seven performance areas: place, equity, water, beauty, materials, health & happiness, and energy.

One of the biggest challenges in the LBC is net-zero water; a challenge we’re excited to overcome. Aquacell has been selected to supply the onsite wastewater treatment plant, incorporating the first membrane aerated bioreactor (MABR) installed in Australia.

In line with our focus on innovative technology and desire for a new challenge, Burwood Brickworks provides this in the form of a living building.

MABR technology is the next generation treatment process. This biophilic design mimics natures passive wastewater purification mechanisms, but in a tightly controlled manner to provide high-quality fit-for-purpose water in a very small footprint. This is a revolutionary design compared to previous passive treatment systems, which require a much larger footprint than the Aquacell MABR, which make them impractical in urban areas.

The MABR employs a gas permeable media to oxygenate the attached biofilm on the surface of the media. Oxygen is delivered to the biofilm by diffusion – without using bubbles. This results in a 4x reduction in the energy consumed in oxygen transfer, compared to a fine bubble aeration bioreactor.

At Brickworks the blackwater and stormwater collected from sources throughout the retail site and directed to the Aquacell MABR system. Once treated, the recycled water is recirculated within the recycled water network pipes, for use in toilet flushing, cooling towers, and irrigation throughout the retail site.
Installed in September 2019, the Aquacell system has been sized to treat and recycle 60,000L/day of combined blackwater and stormwater, which was calculated based on the wastewater produced by the building.

The flow diagram below is indicative of the process being implemented at the Burwood Brickworks site. In adherence with the LBC criteria, the Aquacell plant at Brickworks minimizes the use of chemicals for the treatment process, and recycles the onsite wastewater for various reuse applications across the site.

Aquacell Blackwater Recycling System at Burwood Brickworks

The Aquacell water recycling system at Burwood Brickworks is setting the tone for the future of onsite wastewater management; exemplifying the beneficial impact of sustainability in the built environment and collaboration across all facets of development.

Download the case study.