Sydney Water increases efficiencies and decreases costs with Ventia contract

Our mechanical and electrical maintenance contract with Sydney Water is one of the largest of its kind in Australia. The contract requires us to create year-on-year efficiencies to reduce costs and drive innovation.

Ventia has delivered substantial savings through the innovations and efficiencies agreed in the Annual Efficiency Plan. For example:

  • We delivered a 20% cost saving in the contract in the first year
  • The Kurnell Remote Vacuum Monitoring System resulted in substantial reduction of maintenance costs and community disruption. Standardising the Uninterrupted Power Supplies has provided significant savings at a number of sites
  • Responding to vacuum pot pump-outs resulted in significant saving
  • We have absorbed CPI increases every year since commencement of the contract
  • Optimising resources to deliver a further step change in cost reduction.

Ventia work collaboratively with Sydney Water and our service delivery team is co-located within the Sydney Water operations Centre to undertake centralised planning and scheduling, engineering services and project support.

About the client

Sydney Water services more than 1.8 million homes and four million people in the Sydney, Illawarra and Blue Mountains regions across 13,000 square kilometres. It operates in challenging environments including cross-town traffic (CBD and metropolitan), high density areas and in close proximity to multiple underground services and utilities.

Sydney Water has a number of critical customers including:

  • large hospitals and universities
  • the Opera House and high profile sporting/entertainment centres such as the SCG
  • Sydney International Airport and other transport infrastructure
  • environmentally sensitive sites including heritage buildings and Aboriginal heritage sites.

What we deliver

  • we provide mechanical and electrical maintenance services to all Sydney Water facilities including 30 water and wastewater treatment plants, 800 pumping stations and 260 reservoirs
  • we undertake facilities management of Sydney Water’s vast property portfolio including 2,400 buildings across 1,400 sites.

Watch our short video to learn more:


Critical client service

At the beginning of our contract in June 2013, heavy wet weather caused the Kurnell vacuum wastewater system to fail for two days. As a result, thousands of local residents experienced an extended disruption to their wastewater service.

Ventia worked together with Sydney Water and recovered the system from a critical failure. In the post-event analysis, we identified short- and long-term initiatives to restore the Kurnell system to best-practice standard.

We developed web-based applications and systems to make better use of our human resources, to proactively detect possible failures, and pinpoint the location of faults.

We devised, sourced and installed the best-in-class vacuum component solution. This involved:

  • relocating the vacuum controllers
  • installing 120 easy access valve pits to make servicing easier and more efficient
  • installing dual controllers in certain vacuum chambers to build contingency into the system
  • undertaking source control (inflow/infiltration analysis) of scores of properties to identify where stormwater was entering the system
  • reviewing the procurement and warehousing system to ensure critical spares were maintained and stored on site
  • implementing a real-time monitoring system to make finding faults in the field more efficient
  • scanning the market for a more reliable solution to the typical vacuum valve configuration.

Bespoke solution

We benchmarked vacuum systems at utilities around Australia. Our technological solution was to design a bespoke hybrid product in consultation with a number of different system manufacturers.

Throughout these activities we consulted extensively with both Sydney Water Operations teams and the local community.

The controller device installed at Kurnell was such a success it is being rolled out across Sydney Water’s vacuum sewerage systems and we are currently installing low cost monitoring at individual vacuum chambers to precisely identify the location of a failure within the vacuum system.

The vacuum chamber monitoring system has already demonstrated unexpected benefits, including proactively identifying a potable water leak on a customer’s property.

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