Enhanced secondary water intake for Douglas treatment plant

Date published: 24 May 2021

Townsville City Council has installed three new pumps to provide an enhanced secondary water intake for the Douglas Water Treatment Plant from the Ross River.

The installation of the pumps is part of a broader focus on water security for Townsville and a deliberate move from Council to commit immediate additional investment toward addressing unexpected interruptions to services last year.

Townsville Water and Waste Committee chairperson Russ Cook said Council had responded swiftly to the unexpected rupture of a pipeline between the treatment plant and Ross River Dam in December last year.

“Townsville City Council invests considerable resources into ensuring our city has a safe, reliable, secure and healthy water supply and we are committed to managing water for our dry tropics city wisely,” Cr Cook said.

“That includes doing what we can to minimise the risk of disruptions to our water supply.

“No-one wants to see a repeat of what happened in December when the 1.3-metre diameter pipe linking the dam to the treatment plant ruptured 30 years earlier than expected,” Cr Cook said.

“The pipe, which was routinely inspected, was expected to have an operational life of around 80 years, however it ruptured around the 53-year mark.

“Once the pipeline was repaired and water supply was returned to normal, Council turned its attention to minimising the risk of a similar event occurring again.

The integrated water strategy includes three important projects – the installation of enhanced secondary water intake for the treatment plant from the Ross River, the duplication of the original pipe between the dam and the plant and the installation of additional clarifiers at the plant.

Cr Cook said the $1 million capital investment in the secondary water intake would allow for 110 megalitres of water to be pumped into the treatment place each day when required.

“The investment in these new pumping systems expands our capacity to deliver water to residents with an additional 110 mega litres of raw water per day able to be pumped into the water treatment plant,” Cr Cook said.

“This project included the construction of three pumps adjacent to the bank of the Ross River, and an above-ground pipeline that connects to the inlet at the Douglas Water Treatment Plant.

“Staff will continue to conduct monthly routine checks of the pumps to ensure they work as intended when they aren’t in use. These tests will run for one to two hours a month and we thank residents for their patience while testing is underway as it may generate some noise in the area.”

Work on other aspects of the integrated water strategy is ongoing.

Council is in the final stages of awarding a tender for the construction of the additional clarifiers at the Douglas Water Treatment Plant.

This is another swift move from Council to address issues associated with the temporary discolouration of water experienced in early 2021.

In cooperation with the Department of Defence, Council has also fast-tracked the design and land access arrangements to enable the duplication of the pipeline between the dam and treatment plant as soon as possible.

Tenders for the construction of the duplicate pipeline are expected to be released later in the year. The cost of the duplication is expected to be around $45 million at the concept level. Council is developing the concept into a full detailed design package including a more accurate cost estimate.