Edi­tor’s com­ment:

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FEEDBACK -

CAIRNS Re­gional Coun­cil’s rea­sons for killing off a chlo­rine-free trial for Moss­man are as weak as wa­ter.

Coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager for wa­ter and waste Bruce Gar­diner said the cost of pre­par­ing for the trial would be pro­bibitive, the re­sult un­cer­tain and wa­ter reg­u­la­tor Queens­land Health would be un­likely to ac­cept the pro­posal in any case.

If these are the gen­uine rea­sons for re­ject­ing a trial, then why waste hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars on a con­sul­tant to de­ter­mine if a trial was fea­si­ble in the first place?

The con­sul­tant Black and Veatch es­ti­mated the prepa­ra­tion work for a chlo­rine-free trial would be around $820,000. But coun­cil has blown this out of the wa­ter by fac­tor­ing in works such as flush­ing the pipe net­work, re­plac­ing two-thirds of fire hy­drants in Moss­man and re­plac­ing or re­pair­ing the reser­voir roof, which coun­cil es­ti­mates would add an­other $1.7 mil­lion.

But coun­cil knew all along these works would need to be done if a chlo­rine-free trial was to take place.

Be­fore chlo­rine was in­tro­duced, these were works which would have rou­tinely been car­ried out as part of the coun­cil’s main­te­nance obli­ga­tions.

Mr Gar­diner doesn’t need to worry too much about main­te­nance of the Moss­man wa­ter sup­ply these days, he just au­tho­rises a dose of chlo­rine and the rest takes care of it­self.

Up un­til this point the coun­cil seemed le­git­i­mate in its sup­port for a chlo­rine­free trial in Moss­man.

It had con­ducted gen­uine di­a­logue and com­mis­sioned an in­de­pen­dent study which in­cluded the in­put of Aus­tralia’s pre-em­i­nent wa­ter ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Don Bur­sill.

But the sud­den back­flip on the ba­sis of a main­te­nance bud­get many ar­gue should be up­held re­gard­less of chlo­rine means the whole ex­er­cise has been point­less.

While wa­ter treat­ment plants in Cairns are cur­rently re­ceiv­ing multi-mil­lion dol­lar up­grades, the sys­tems in the Dou­glas re­gion are largely be­ing left to rack and ruin.

As Prof Bur­sill says, our lo­cal sys­tem is so loaded with crap it needs to be cleaned out ef­fec­tively whether or not it is to be run with­out chlo­rine. The rea­sons for no trial stink more than the rat poo in our wa­ter sys­tem.

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