As mentioned in the earlier notice, this open afternoon was held today and we took the opportunity to find out what goes on there.
The overall impression was that this is a modern and efficient plant that does what it is supposed to quite well.
The guy showing us around mentioned that they get bad press; it seems that this was primarily a reference to the complaints that used to be made about the taste of bore water which the council used as the source of tap water during the dry summer months. This complaint, it seems, was the consequence of the high mineral content of water that has been in the ground “for 400 years”. It is good quality mineral water that passed all tests, he said, but people didn’t like it.
So the answer was to build the recharge system, which is best explained with the diagrams above. This system uses river water as the tap water source and replaces it, to a limited extent, with the bore water which is fed in with a waterfall just below the intakes for the river water. The effects of the addition of the bore water on the river water on the river’s ecology are being monitored for two years.
This system isn’t a substitute for a reservoir up river for long-term needs, or for a summer drought situation for which bore water in taps could reappear, but the council doesn’t rate the reservoir as a priority (we do).
Apart from the recharge system, we were shown the workings of the treatment plant: how gunk is removed with carbon, and the addition of chlorine to kill bugs like giardia, as well as the controversial fluoride to safeguard people’s teeth.
The workings of the recharge system are a completely separate issue from the controversial water meters, which we maintain were an expensive waste of money which only added to the cost impost on citizens and ratepayers.
Where water is taken from the river — the still pool before the weir. We saw a couple of trout swimming in it. Our guide said that during the May floods, the water level was only about one metre below the steel platform which is just visible on the left.
The pumps that lift the water from the river into the treatment plant.
This shows the bore water tumbling down a waterfall into the river to replace the water that has been taken out from the pool before the weir. This photo is taken from the steel platform just visible in the other photo.