Wastewater treatment for CWMS typically consists of facultative lagoons or mechanical treatment plants (eg Sequencing Batch Reactors (SBR)). Treated water is stored over winter in storage lagoons or is disposed of via woodlot irrigation or evaporative lagoons. Both treatment options have their advantages and disadvantages and the CWMS Management Committee (CMC) identified a need for an alternative treatment system that was low-cost with a low carbon footprint and that requires minimal operator intervention while producing a large volume of recycled water available for beneficial re-use.
In 2008 the CWMS Management Committee (CMC) formed a research partnership with Professor Howard Fallowfield from Flinders University and funded the investigation of High Rate Algal Ponds (HRAP) as a sustainable, low energy, low cost alternative wastewater treatment process. HRAPs are typically used to treat high strength wastewater or to grow algal biomass for biofuel production and the focus of the research partnership was to investigate whether they are suitable to treat human wastewater to an acceptable standard.
In 2008 the CWMS program funded the construction of a HRAP test site at Kingston on Murray, a small regional STEDs scheme owned and operated by the District Council of Loxton Waikerie and this site has been used as a research site for Flinders University.