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.