The Bribie Borefields Project
The Bribie Borefields ProjectBANKSIA WATER TREATMENT PLANT UPDATE
The most recent quarterly meeting of the Community Review Group for the Banksia Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was held on October 28, 2011. This meeting reviewed the operations of the WTP and associated borefields for the period July-August-September 2011. This plant was designed and built by Caboolture Shire Council (CSC) and was taken over by Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) in March 2008 after amalgamation. It was then taken over by SEQ Water in October 2008. When it was first announced by CSC in 2005, this plant was going to produce 10 megalitres per day and have a capital cost of $10 million. Within nine months, this escalated to $70 million and the predicted production was reduced to less than 5 megalitres per day. Final cost was approximately $45 million with an operating licence limit of 4.3 megalitres per day – about enough to supply Bribie Island during peak summer months.
Commissioning of the Banksia WTP began in September 2008 and after three years of commissioning and modifications, it is finally starting to reach its allowable production ceiling of 4.3 megalitres per day. This prolonged delay is because the original design of the plant was inappropriate and has been unable to cope with the quality of the water produced by the 20 or so bores that feed it.
The issues of concern raised on behalf of BIEPA include the following:
- BIEPA members continue to express great concern about the monitoring system in place for flora and fauna along the eastern side of Bribie. All the monitoring sites are along the western side of the island, but CRG members are most concerned that it is the fresh water lakes along the eastern side that are at greatest risk. This issue has not been resolved and will be discussed again as part of the upcoming licence review
- The current licence-to-operate given by the Federal Government expires in September and is being reviewed. Previous CRG members are of a strong opinion that they were deliberately denied access to the Federal Government staff by CSC when the original licence was negotiated and issued. BIEPA members on the CRG made it clear that they must be involved in the current review and will not accept being shuffled to one side again. We have been assured that we will be included in this review.
- The original WTP proposal assumed that the Pacific Harbour Golf Course would be supplied by CSC with treated waste water from Woorim. MBRC has now decided this is not going to happen and that recycle water project has been abandoned. This means that PH Golf Course will continue to take its water from its own deep bores which access the same aquifers as the WTP. BIEPA members have been adamant that this usage has to be included in the allowed extraction rate of 4.3 megalitres per day. This is up for discussion as part of the licence renewal process
- BIEPA members have pointed out that BIEPA is conducting its own monitoring of water quality and frog populations on Bribie. These studies could be of value to SEQ Water. It was greed that there is some scope here for sharing of results and methodologies. These opportunities will be pursued.