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Wastewater projects

The benefits

A wastewater treatment project treats household, commercial or industrial wastewater to prevent the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. This reduction in emissions earns Australian carbon credit units (carbon credits).

Wastewater treatment has a number of benefits:


Diversify revenue

Carbon credits provide another income stream for your property.


Lower electricity bills

Generate renewable electricity for use on-site or to sell to the grid.


Odour control

Wastewater treatment can reduce odour effects on local residents.


Environmental action

Be recognised for your contribution to Australia's emissions reductions.

Help with these projects

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I want to know the basics

Introduction to wastewater projects, how they work and their eligibility requirements.

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I want more information

Further information and resources on wastewater projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund.


How these projects work

The decomposing organic matter in wastewater produces biogas including greenhouse gases like methane. When treated in an open wastewater lagoon, these gases are released into the atmosphere.

Wastewater treatment projects involve replacing open lagoons with closed anaerobic digesters. An anaerobic digester is a system that collects biogas and sends it to be burned by a combustion device. You can combust biogas using a flare, or in a generator to heat boilers or generate renewable electricity. This electricity can be used on site or sold back into the electricity grid.

Combusting biogas converts its methane component to carbon dioxide, which is a much less potent greenhouse gas. You earn carbon credits for the reduction in methane emitted (measured in carbon dioxide equivalent).

Project activities

You run a wastewater treatment project by:

  1. Measuring and calculating your current emissions levels.
  2. Replacing an open wastewater treatment lagoon with an anaerobic digester (either a covered lagoon or an engineered biodigester).
  3. Collecting and combusting captured methane (which can be used to generate useful heat or electricity).
  4. Measuring and calculating emissions reductions from the treatment process upgrade.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible you must:

  • Ensure that prior to registering your project, you are treating domestic, commercial or industrial wastewater in an open lagoon that is at least two metres deep. You also need to provide data on the historic sources of your wastewater.
  • Establish legal right (the right to run your project and claim carbon credits) - for example, obtain consent from the site owner to undertake the project.
  • Obtain regulatory approvals required to run your project and ensure project activities are not required to be carried out under a Commonwealth, state or territory law.
  • Make sure your project is new - you cannot start project activities until after we register your project.

Running and reporting on your project

As part of registering a project, you will need to describe your proposed activities and calculate your expected carbon credits.

There are operating, monitoring, reporting and audit obligations in running a wastewater treatment project. You will need to report on your project at least once every two years. You receive carbon credits each time you report over a period of seven years.

Relevant legislation and resources

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