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.

Friday, January 30, 2009

SEQ recycled water - suburban recycled sewage spills increase - Anna Bligh aims to cover up ...

Spilt sewage in Queensland fuels fears on recycled water

Greg Roberts | January 30, 2009

Article from: The Australian

Treated sewage and industrial effluent have been spilled on four occasions over the past two weeks -- including three times in one day at different sites -- in another blow to southeast Queensland's $2.5billion recycled water scheme.

Faulty valves in pipelines were responsible for two of the discharges.

Authorities insisted there was no risk to public health or to the environment.

Critics of drinking recycled water argue that accidents arising from human error are the main reason for concern about its safety.

The state Government was forced to suspend plans to add recycled water to southeast Queensland's drinking supplies next month in the face of public concerns about its safety, but the effluent will be added if dam levels fall to 40 per cent. They were at 46 per cent yesterday.

The Australian reported two weeks ago that state authorities had covered up an accident last July in which
more than 500,000 litres of waste water were spilled at the Bundamba Advanced Water Treatment Plant west of Brisbane.

The plant is one of three treatment facilities connected by pipes in the western corridor recycling scheme, the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

On January 13, the Environmental Protection Authority investigated a spill of 500 litres from a recycled water pipeline in the Ipswich suburb of Goodna.

The spill was detected by Brisbane City Council inspectors.

The EPA was alerted to no fewer than three spills at widely dispersed sites on January 21.

At the Gibson Island recycling facility, near the mouth of the Brisbane River, 2000 litres were spilled from a diversion pit.

In the Brisbane riverside suburb of Pinkenba, 12,000 litres were spilled because of faulty valves in the pipeline.

In the southern Brisbane suburb of Stretton, 100,000 litres were spilled from a pipeline, again because of a faulty valve.

The Environmental Protection Agency said there was no evidence of environmental damage from the first spill.

Investigations were continuing into the latest three spills, but the EPA said the environmental impacts were expected to be negligible because the leaked water met drinking-water requirements. The faulty pipeline parts had been replaced.

Australian National University microbiologist Peter Collignon, a critic of drinking recycled water, said the spillages highlighted the safety risks of the western corridor scheme.

"In any malfunctioning water system, 80 per cent of the time it's human error to blame rather than the efficiency of a screening system or some other piece of equipment," Professor Collignon said.

"That's why the risks involved in using this equipment are real."

Queenslanders for Safe Water president Merilyn Haines said the state Government should publicly reveal spillages when they occurred.

"It was bad enough that they covered up last time," Ms Haines said.

"How can we be expected to trust them when they're not open with the public? We shouldn't have to rely on the media."

However, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, continuing his "small target" strategy in the lead-up to a state election by saying little about policy, declined to comment on whether he agreed with the Government's critics.

Western Corridor Recycled Water Project spokesman Paul Rees said the scheme treated waste water that would have been discharged into the Brisbane River.

"We take all environmental incidents, including leaks, seriously," Mr Rees said.

"We notify the EPA of environmental incidents involving the project."

In addition to its western corridor woes, the Queensland Government has been under fire over delays to the commissioning of its $1.2 billion Gold Coast desalination plant.


Trust us ...

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Question to be asked is "Where were the pipe sourced from?"
The quality seems to be not up to the standard required for a project like this.

Veolia seem to want it covered up and the state government have not uttered a word.

One of the very real concerns from the public is about humane error and equipment letting us down.
Thank God that there are people out there who let us know what is going on.

7:34 AM, January 30, 2009

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably all made in China, home of cheap quality products. Remember the water tanks?

9:50 AM, January 30, 2009

 
Anonymous newswatch said...

ABC News

Western corridor spills under investigation

30 January 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating four spills from the western corridor recycled water project in Brisbane this month.

Faulty valves caused 120,000 litres of water to spill at Pinkenba and 100,000 litres at Stretton, while there have also been smaller leaks at Goodna and at Gibson Island.

State Opposition spokeswoman Fiona Simpson says it is shoddy work.

"The water grid is in tatters - they've got a rusting desalination plant on the Gold Coast and now they've got a leaking recycled water pipeline," she said.

"This is going to cause a lot more concern about the quality of the recycled pipeline in the minds of Queenslanders."

Ms Simpson says the spills are on top of rust problems at the Gold Coast desalination plant.

"Whatever people think about recycled water, it's clear that with this Government they can't do a project without it breaking down," she said.

"This is shoddy work - it raises real questions about the safety of this project."

The EPA says there is no evidence of environmental impact from the Goodna spill and it expects similar findings from the other three because the recycled water had been purified.

1:26 PM, January 30, 2009

 

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