New water treatment plants for the Murchison
Water Corporation is progressing a $16 million program to build water treatment plants in Mount Magnet, Cue, Sandstone and Meekatharra. The new water treatment plants will reduce the naturally high levels of salinity and nitrates in the water and improve scaling and hardness.
A desalination process called electrodialysis reversal (EDR) will be used at the four water treatment plants. EDR technology has been successfully used in regional towns across Australia to improve water quality conditions, reduce nitrate levels and convert over 90% of the treated water into drinking water. It is currently used at the Wiluna and Yalgoo water treatment plants in the Murchison region.
Current project status
In August 2018, we appointed Guidera O’Connor as the authorised contractor for this project. We will work with Guidera O’Connor to progress the design of the four treatment plants and expect to begin construction of the first plant in mid 2019.
We will build each water treatment plant in stages, starting in Mount Magnet in mid 2019 and progressing to Cue, Sandstone and Meekatharra. At this stage, we expect all plants to be operational by mid/late 2020.
This schedule has been determined by each town’s specific plant requirements and available power supply.
How the plants will be powered
Existing Water Corporation assets on the water treatment plant sites will continue to operate using grid power.
As part of our commitment to improved sustainability, solar power and batteries will be installed at all four sites to minimise the amount of additional grid power required to run the new water treatment plants.
While Mount Magnet has sufficient power available to run the new plant, additional solar and battery power is required to operate the EDR technology at the Cue, Sandstone and Meekatharra water treatment plants.
A diesel generator will also be installed at the Cue, Meekatharra and Sandstone sites for additional power support. Sandstone will also receive two new 200kL water storage tanks and a booster pump station to improve their water storage.
Find out more
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- Cue, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, New Norcia, Sandstone, Yalgoo, Laverton, Leonora, Menzies, Nabawa and Wiluna in the Murchison and Goldfields regions have naturally occurring underlying rock conditions that affect the quality of drinking water sourced from local bores. Water in these towns may be affected by salinity, hardness, magnesium, nitrates and silica in the groundwater.
- It is acknowledged due to these conditions, the water may have an undesirable taste for some people, make it difficult to lather soap and leave brown crystalline deposits on surfaces when evaporated.
- This water is safe for everyone, except bottle-fed infants under the age of 3 months who are provided with bottled water from the local nursing post.
- Water Corporation has already installed water treatment units at Wiluna, Leonora and Yalgoo to reduce the levels of nitrates in water supplies.