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, July 03, 2009

Anna Bligh's desal plant builders threatened with legal action ...

Brisbane Times:

Desal plant builders threatened with legal action

2 July 2009

Builders of the $1.2 billion Tugun desalination plant face a legal settlement of "tens of millions of dollars" if they cannot make repairs to 16 issues identified in a report given to the State Government this morning.

Infrastructure Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said while fixes for some problems - including replacing 45 rusting pipe couplings - were underway, other issues would require the plant to shut down for at least "two to three months".

The Tugun Desalination plant is being built by John Holland and Veolia Water Australia and was supposed to be able to provide 125 megalitres of water to Queensland's $9 billion Water Grid by January 2009.

The Tugun plant shut down in April after a string of complaints was revealed in January, including the corrosion in the pipe couplings and excessive vibration in parts of the desalination plant.

Mr Hinchliffe said the builders needed to continue replacing other stainless steel piping, fixing leaks into the 70-metre intake shaft and changing wrongly-installed high-pressure pumps.

"They face a significant pay day in the order of tens of millions if they don't meet our requirements," Mr Hinchliffe said.

He could not specify when that decision would be made, but said the desalination plant, the largest on Australia's east coast, would be brought up to 100 per cent capacity by the end of July.

Mr Hinchliffe said the report identified a series of issues which still need to be addressed before the State Government - through the company who will manage the plant, Water Secure - take ownership of the desalination plant.

"It is like building a house, in every circumstance those people who build a house do the inspections and they raise issues with the builder to get things resolved before they make that final payment," Mr Hinchliffe said.

He said $95 million was set aside in the Queensland Government's 2009-10 Budget for the final payment on the plant, which has already sent 4.5 million litres of water to the grid.

The report named the following issues that still need to be repaired:

- corrosion to 26 non-return valves because of manufacturing errors.They will be delivered by September 2009;

- lower-grade steel was used in places throughout the plant. This needs to be replaced meaning "shutting down the plant for "two to three months";

- minor cracking in the intake and outlet shaft of the plant, allowing groundwater into the shaft. There is a possibility this has allowed leachate from a nearby landfill to contaminate the groundwater, though this was this morning denied by Keith Davies, the CEO of WaterSecure.

- incorrect water pressure pumps have been used in parts of the plant, which the reports says "will result in an increase in the plant's power consumption" and a "likely increase in the annual running costs."

Mr Davies estimated this would add "tens of thousands of dollars" to the plant's running costs, but did not elaborate how this would impact on the price of water from the desalination plant.

Mr Hinchliffe said it would not affect the price of water.


See - Brisbane Times - Desal plant builders threatened with legal action.

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