The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SEQ recycled water - Denial on recycled water spill challenged ...

Denial on recycled water spill challenged

Greg Roberts | January 21, 2009

The Australian

A claim by the Queensland government body responsible for the state's troubled $2.5 billion recycled water scheme that a massive industrial effluent spill did not affect a nearby river has been challenged.

It is the second time in a week that statements from the Western Corridor Recycled Water Project have been disputed. The latest claims about the project emerged as the chemical manufacturing giant Incitev Pivot signalled it would be the first private company to use recycled water from the project.

The Australian reported last week that 540 kilolitres of effluent and 120KL of cleaning water -- of a standard that made it "suitable for irrigating golf courses" -- were spilled last July when the valves on an industrial waste pipeline were not closed properly at the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant near Ipswich.

Critics of the western corridor scheme have pointed to human error as the main reason for concern about the safety of recycled water.

The western corridor company initially denied there had been a "recent" spill at Bundamba, admitting to the event only when pressed by The Australian.

Industry sources said opinion was divided among company personnel about whether the spill should have been referred at the time to the state Environmental Protection Agency.

The company said the spilled water had "soaked into the ground" and "there was no runoff into the Bremer River and no risk to public health or safety".

However, the
EPA said much of the spilled water had flowed into a dam on an adjoining property.

EPA staff who inspected the site observed water from the dam overflowing through a natural gully into the Bremer River.

The EPA said it was unclear how much water made its way into the river, but testing had indicated it was of a quality that would not cause environmental impacts.

Asked to explain its initial statement, the western corridor company said a report to the EPA had stated there was "no visible sign of the waste water flowing into the Bremer River". On this basis, the company believed that none of the spilled water reached the river.

The company said the water was of a higher quality than if it had been released untreated into the Brisbane River, as would have happened before the Bundamba plant came into operation.

The Bligh Government was forced to suspend plans to add recycled water to southeast Queensland's drinking water supply from next month in response to concerns about its safety. By that time, industry was to have accounted for 30 per cent of water produced at Bundamba and two other treatment plants, but no companies have signed up to use it.

See - Denial on recycled water spill challenged.

That's today's story from WCRW anyway ...


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