Townsville water security strengthened with new clarifiers

Date published: 21 April 2023

The commissioning of two new clarifiers at the Douglas Water Treatment Plant has increased the resilience of the plant and will provide additional water security for Townsville.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the addition of two new clarifiers in recent months to the two existing clarifiers is good news for Townsville.

“In Townsville we’re very conscious of the need for a secure water supply, and the four clarifiers enhance our ability to produce clean and healthy drinking water for our 197,000 residents,” Cr Hill said.

“We have been named as one of the top 10 liveable cities in Australia and a big part of that is because industry, business and families can rely on a secure and clean water supply.”

Raw water is transferred by pipe from Ross River Dam to the Douglas Water Treatment plant where it is processed through the clarifiers then distributed through the filtration system and into the water supply network.

Clarification is an early stage of the water treatment process, where solid particulates or suspended solids are removed before filtration occurs.

“In theory it’s simple but in reality it’s a highly technical process,” Cr Hill said.

“A clarifier is a large settling tank providing the ability to consolidate and remove solids and particulates from raw water coming from the dam.

“Each of our four filtration modules now has its own clarifier, allowing consistent removal of solids across each module.

“Having four clarifiers doing this work provides flexibility in how the plant is operated to adapt to changes in the raw water received”.

Chairperson of Council’s Water and Waste Committee Russ Cook said the introduction of the two extra clarifiers is a $34 million budget investment in Townsville’s water security.

“The city’s water treatment reliability will now be boosted, even during tropical weather events when there are many solids and other particles in the water,” Cr Cook said.

BMD Constructions was awarded the contract to construct the new clarifiers, providing 40 local jobs.

BMD Constructions General Manager (Northern Region) Gerard Keynes said there are impressive results with the project.

“Those 40 people have used 600 tonnes of reinforcing steel and 2,100 cubic metres of concrete in the construction of the two new clarifiers,” Mr Keynes said.

“Our company has been working in Townsville for almost 30 years and the fact that we have a well-established relationship with contractors and suppliers in the city makes it a win-win for everyone.”

The new infrastructure provides the ability to treat 950 litres per second of raw water through the Module 3 Clarifier and 1,100 litres per second through the Module 4 Clarifier.

“The investment in the Douglas Water Treatment Plant means we can continue to meet the water demands for a growing city,” Cr Cook said.

In the current financial year, Council is investing a record $214.9 million into critical water infrastructure projects across the city as part of its strategic focus on Townsville’s water security.

It includes the pipeline renewal project between Ross River Dam and the Douglas Water Treatment Plant, Haughton Pipeline Project Stage 2 and upgrading of the underground water network across Townsville.

Visit the Douglas Water Treatment Plant Water Clarifiers page for more information about the project.