50 Years - 50 Stories: The Golden Circle UASB

Geoff Parker manhole Golden Circle

The Golden Circle UASB (Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket) Project was hugely significant for Aquatec Maxcon way back in the 1980’s, being the first large Paques UASB plant ever built in Australia. The job proved to be quite a challenge for a number of reasons, one of them being the plant had to be designed and built within a very narrow window of 40 weeks with hefty penalties for lateness – conditions that were unheard of back then! The Aquatec Maxcon team was clearly not daunted by this prospect as the project was completed 17 days ahead of schedule. The benefits for Golden Circle following the new installations were immediate. The waste charges for the plant were slashed to 10%, paying for itself after three years of operation. 

Since the UASB was installed, Aquatec Maxcon have returned to the Golden Circle cannery several times to perform further work, proof that Australia’s first UASB installation was a resounding and enduring success, all thanks to the efforts of the remarkable Aquatec Maxcon team led by Project Manager, Geoff  Parker. Geoff retired in 2015 after 32 years with Aquatec Maxcon and still occasionally assists us when we need his expertise… He is currently assisting one of our Project Engineers (Nina Li) in our St Marys office. Maxcon Industries were responsible for the pipes and mechanics which were handled by their very best apprentice - a strapping young boilermaker named Evan Bentley. Evan began as an apprentice and is still with us 35 years later, now working as a Site Installation Manager.

This was the beginning of our partnership with Paques BV for the use of UASB treatment equipment, a process that is particularly effective on high-strength industrial waste. Aquatec Maxcon and Paques have enjoyed a long and productive relationship ever since, working closely together to deliver a range of innovative industrial treatment plants at XXXX, Smiths Crisp, Cadbury, CUB, and Visy. Paques BV are world leaders in granular technologies such as Anammox® technology, IC Reactors, UASB and Thiopaq, Phospax.

Golden Circle inspecting Civils WWTP

Above: Civil works inspection at Golden Circle circa 1989. Steve Christensen (Golden Circle), Ken Hartley (wearing coat) and Hulls' site foreman inspect the works. Photo from Geoff Parker's private collection.

Geoff Parker Golden Circle WWTP Sunday Afternoon

Above: Geoff Parker "manning the manhole" at Golden Circle cannery, circa 1989. Workplace Health & Safety rules and Personal Protection Equipment requirements have clearly come a very long way since this picture was taken. (During the 1980's, the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission was still in its infancy.) Photo from Geoff Parker's private collection.