Woodford Folk Festivals

Woodfordia wastewater treatment

Woodfordia site

Woodfordia Inc operates the Woodfordia site, the home of the Woodford Folk Festival; the largest gathering of artists and musicians in Australia which typically attracts over 130,000 visitors during the 6 days of the event. The festival started operating on the site in 1994 and for 15 years searched for an economic and environmentally friendly solution to its challenging wastewater treatment requirements. The main issue was to find an economic solution to manage the highly variable wastewater production volumes.

During festival events, wastewater production at the site can be as high as 2 million litres per day

The Woodfordia site is host to other festivals such as the ‘The Planting’, but there is typically 3 months between events. In between festivals at the site, wastewater production is normally less than 2000 litres per day. However, during festival events it can be as high as 2 million litres per day. The wastewater produced at the site also has variable quality and has a relatively high concentration of blackwater. The multiple treatment challenges presented by the Woodfordia site meant that they were transporting all of its wastewater off-site, which accounted for 11% of the total carbon emissions of the organisation and was a major operational cost.

Waste Stabilisation Pond at the end of the Festival

Arris Water was able to solve the wastewater treatment issues at the Woodfordia site with a bespoke decentralised wastewater treatment and water recycling scheme. We designed, built, operate and maintain a batching treatment plant that incorporates physical separation, chemical treatment (ion exchange, oxidation, and adsorption), and biological polishing. The treated water is then irrigated onto a bamboo plantation; with the bamboo poles and products being harvested and used on the site as part of the festival events.

The $1.5 million project was designed and constructed within six months, commencing in June 2009

The plant was commissioned during the actual operation of the 2009/2010 Woodford Folk Festival. The completion of the STP enabled Woodfordia Inc to slash their cost of managing their wastewater by more than 80%, reduced the site’s carbon emissions. It also enabled a town planning change that allowed Woodfordia Inc to offer the site to third party clients for hire and use. As a result, the site was hired to Splendour in the Grass music festival for two years, and has an on-going relationship with Tough Mudder.

Woodford Folk Festival, 72 km (an hour and a half drive) north of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Woodford Folk Festival location


Located in the Moreton Bay region, the Woodford Folk Festival takes place in a rural valley surrounded by natural bushland with plenty of native wildlife and a superb view of the Glass House Mountains from the hill-top above the festival grounds. The festival is about an hour and a half drive north of Brisbane, or 40 minutes west of Caloundra or an hour south of Noosa.

In 2018 we have upgraded the STP with the inclusion of a Primozone Ozone system. This ozone unit will decrease our usage of hydrogen peroxide in the oxidation stages of the treatment chain. Being able to generate ozone from atmospheric oxygen reduces chemical delivery truck movements to site and has a significant reduction in operational costs. More information on this Primozone installation can be found here.

Woodfordia wastewater treatment chain

Ozone for Woodfordia

In 2018 Arris installed a Primozone Ozone Unit into the Woodford Folk Festival Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). This STP uses a batching treatment process to treat the wastewater from Festival events. The large variations in flow between festival events requires a bespoke treatment chain, as standard techniques using beneficial microorganisms cannot be used.

Primozone ozone unit installed to improve the oxidation process

Primozone equipment as part of the ozone treatment system

Oxidation at the site is used to reduce biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), improve dissolved oxygen concentration, disinfection of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, diminish odours & colours, and decrease the concentration of oxidisable metals, pharmaceuticals & personal care products. Previously all oxidation at the site was performed by Hydrogen Peroxide.

The Primozone unit transforms atmospheric oxygen into ozone, meaning that no hazardous chemicals need to be brought to site. The associated venturi and mixing tower ensures that micro-bubbles of ozone are mixed into the water, resulting in optimised treatment performance. We can adjust the ozone production of the Pimozone unit and the mixing rate to reflect the inflow concentration of the festival wastewater to guarantee energy and treatment efficiency.

The Primozone Ozone unit was used during the 20018/2019 Woodford Folk Festival. It was highly effective at reducing the odours and colours coming through the STP. It’s more efficient oxidation process reduced the concentration of total suspended solids entering the ion exchange, sand & granulated activated carbon filters improving their efficiency, especially through reduced backwashing.

Improved pathogen reduction rate

The multiple barrier approach to disinfection in the treatment chain has always meant very effective pathogen reduction at the site however, the Primozone Ozone unit was able to improve the pathogen reduction rate earlier in the treatment chain, reducing the risk. The dissolved oxygen concentration of the treated water was significantly higher after the introduction of the Primozone Ozone unit.

The installation of the Primozone technology at the Woodfordia site has been highly successful and cost effective

Arris have continually upgraded the potable water treatment plant at the site and provide on-going technical support to this facility.

Arris and Woodfordia Inc both have a strong commitment to research projects. We have made the Woodfordia STP available for research projects to students from the Central Queensland University, University of Queensland, and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Zeolite Renewal

The bespoke batching treatment chain at the Woodfordia STP site has been especially designed to allow for the fluctuating flows associated with a festival venue. The process includes 6 large zeolite filters which use ion exchange to remove contaminants of concern and provide physical separation. As part of the long-term maintenance plan, the zeolite was replaced in 2022. The replacement zeolite was sourced from Castle Mountain Zeolites.

Arris refurbished the 6 concrete filter tanks and refilled the filters, one large bag at a time. This involved 117 separate lifts, with the refilling being accomplished in 3 days. The performance of the new zeolite media is exceeding expectations.

Click here to read more about the Woodford Folk Festival Installation project.