Wa­ter plants not ef­fi­cient

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

WA­TER treat­ment plants sup­ply­ing Dou­glas are not run­ning ef­fi­ciently and noth­ing will be im­proved, pend­ing the in­com­ing Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil.

A quar­terly re­port pre­sented to Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil re­cently showed wa­ter treat­ment plants in Moss­man, Daintree and Whyan­beel are not util­is­ing wa­ter go­ing through the plant as ef­fi­ciently as plants sup­ply­ing mains wa­ter to Cairns.

Moss­man’s plant is at 85 per cent, Whyan­beel at 75 per cent and Daintree is at 65 per cent, with the re­port stat­ing: ‘‘Quan­tity of wa­ter is re­quired for the main­te­nance of the mem­brane fil­ters im­pacts on the ef­fi­ciency.’’

CRC man­ager of Wa­ter and Waste Paul Ut­ting said they were mea­sured by how much wa­ter is lost to back­wash­ing ver­sus how much is com­ing into the plant, which is dif­fer­ent to what goes through into con­sump­tion.

‘‘The tar­get was 97 per cent based on the per­for­mance of the mains sup­ply plant to Cairns, which is a rel­a­tively tra­di­tional sand fil­ter plants, but the three plants up in Dou­glas are mem­brane plants, which is a dif­fer­ent tech­nol­ogy,’’ he said.

‘‘Essen­tially the mem­brane is like a por­ous straw - wa­ter drawn through por­ous sur­faces leaves the bad stuff out­side and good stuff on the in­side.

‘‘One of the lim­i­ta­tions of that tech­nol­ogy is the back wash­ing process hap­pens dif­fer­ently and doesn’t achieve the same sort of ef­fi­ciency as the tra­di­tional plant, but does so ef­fec­tively and cheaply.’’

Mr Ut­ting said to achieve the same ef­fi­ciency as Cairns the plants would re­quire sig­nif­i­cant changes, which is as­so­ci­ated with that cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture.

‘‘That doesn’t de­liver any ben­e­fit other than ef­fi­ciency and is a de­ci­sion best left to the new Dou­glas coun­cil,’’ Mr Ut­ting said.

‘‘It’s not as if it’s hugely in­ef­fi­cient or ex­pen­sive and the new coun­cil can de­cide to leave it as it is, which is a per­fectly ac­cept­able so­lu­tion, or lift ef­fi­ciency and get some ben­e­fit out of it.

‘‘Key are is that your ex­ist­ing wa­ter source will sup­ply more cus­tomers, and con­sid­er­ing the con­cern over wa­ter lev­els and Rex Creek, if you are able to pro­duce more wa­ter through the plant it cre­ates more ca­pac­ity.’’

Mr Ut­ting said coun­cil was not con­cerned at the lev­els and that in view of the ‘‘con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment, the de­ci­sion is best made by the new coun­cil’’.

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