Wastewater treatment

Residents in Gloucester and Barrington, New South Wales, will soon benefit from water stability upgrades following a decision from the MidCoast Council to install additional chemical dosing systems at the Gloucester Water Treatment Plant. 

An independent investigation into the quality of water supplied by the treatment plant found that additional chemical dosing during the treatment process would reduce the risk of corrosion to the plant’s copper pipes.  

The investigation was conducted after concerns were raised by some community members that the corrosion of copper pipes at several properties in Gloucester was linked to the water supply.

While the investigation found that the water supplied by the treatment plant was less corrosive than other benchmarked water supply systems along Australia’s eastern seaboard, it recommended that additional chemical dosing would further reduce the corrosivity of Gloucester’s water supply.

The new systems will cost around $1.75 million to install, and an additional $51,000 per year in operating costs. They are scheduled to be installed in the next three to five years and will potentially be transferred to Gloucester’s new treatment plant when it is built.

MidCoast Council’s Director of Infrastructure and Engineering Services, Rob Scott, said the decision to install lime and CO2 dosing systems at the treatment plant would give the community peace of mind. 

“While the installation of these systems won’t necessarily eliminate future instances of copper pipe corrosion in Gloucester, it will significantly reduce the likelihood of our water supply contributing to any corrosion issues, which was a concern among some residents,” Mr Scott said.

“As the research tells us, and the findings of last year’s investigation reinforced, copper pipe corrosion is a complex phenomenon that can be caused by a range of factors, including the quality of the pipe to begin with, the way it has been installed, contact with other metals, and faulty earthing of electrical circuits to name a few.”

The decision to install additional dosing systems at the treatment plant followed a thorough assessment by Council staff and unanimous support from the elected councillors.

“In considering this issue, we compared the pros and cons of installing these systems at Gloucester’s current treatment plant against the pros and cons of incorporating them into the new treatment plant we’re planning to build at Gloucester in the next eight to ten years,” Mr Scott said. 

“While from a cost perspective, it would be more economical to wait until the new treatment plant is built, Council and the elected body agreed it would be more beneficial to the community to install these systems now.

“Lime and CO2 dosing is considered the gold standard for improving water stability.”

The major upgrade to Gloucester’s water network is also continuing, with a new head contractor soon to be announced to complete the construction of two reservoirs on Cemetery Road.

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