VICTORIAN Premier Steve Bracks today defended a proposal to pipe billions of litres of treated water to the state's power stations to replace the fresh water they now use.
For the past two years, the Government has been investigating the feasibility of diverting 115 billion litres of Melbourne's waste water to the Latrobe Valley 100km away.
In return, the drinking water used to cool the coal-fired plants in the state's south-east would be sent back to help secure Melbourne's diminishing water supply.
"This was a key project to help secure Melbourne's water future for a very, very long time to come," Mr Bracks said today.
"It has been going through a clear examination on the feasibility of it – the cost, the benefits, the environmental controls which will be required as part of it.
"It does have considerable benefits if this project proves to be successful following the business case and the feasibility study."
The scheme to divert the treated water to Gippsland would cut by about 80 per cent the 135 billion litres of sewage from Melbourne that flows into the ocean at Gunnamatta on the Mornington Peninsula.
Mr Bracks said it was too early to consider whether the project could be funded through a public-private partnership and whether the power stations themselves would be asked to contribute to the cost.
But he rejected suggestions local communities in the Latrobe Valley would be hostile to the loss of the fresh water from their catchment.
"We will fully consult as we have been over the last two years with communities including Gippsland of course."
Nationals Victorian leader Peter Ryan hit out at the plan, saying Gippsland would become a dumping ground for Melbourne's waste.
"The Nationals support water recycling, but we believe that the Melbourne metropolitan area should use its own recycled sewage and not pump it to Gippsland," Mr Ryan said.
"We are concerned that if this proposal goes ahead, it's just a matter of flicking a switch and more fresh water from Gippsland rivers will be sent to water Melbourne lawns and gardens."peMr Ryan called on the government to release its feasibility study before the November state election.
"There are concerns that the water will not be as extensively treated as it is today, and I also understand that there are doubts over whether the power industry can use the effluent as proposed by the government. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20404238-1702,00.html
On the 5 PM New Zealand radio news there was talk about the project to use Melbourne's "cleaned" waste water for cooling the powerstation instead of natural rain or river water.
Of course the possibilty exists for extra power tariff increases if this costs more for the power station operator because of extra costs to clean the sewage and pump it the long distance to the powerstation.
One good suggestion will cost the customer as usuall more money.
The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.
#146021 - 09/14/0607:47 AMRe: Plan to power state with recycled water
Why put good, clean drinking water through a cooling system at a power station when perfectly adequate water is being thrown in the sea within a 60 mile pipeline distance? [ Come to that, why purify water to superb drinking-quality standards and then use it to flush toilets or wash cars, but that's for another argument.]
They are not talking about pumping sewage. The exit water from the Melbourne sewage plant[s] will have been through a process of gross solids settlement, then activated sludge aeration and then final settlement before release. This water is not quite drinking quality, but neither is rainwater! A reservoir and filtration/chlorination plant must be used to make it so, [at a cost], and Latrobe already have one. I bet the guys at Melbourne Sewage Treatment are proud of their effluent quality and would consider it an insult to impune its quality.
The River Thames in England is a good example of treated water re-use. By the time the river-water reaches London, having passed Oxford, Reading, Maidenhead, Taplow, Slough, Eton, Windsor, Staines, etc., it has been drunk at least 6 times. It is clean water, established by the fact you can now see trout swimming around Tower Bridge. The idea that an established modern sewage plant could suddenly 'reduce the water quality' to reduce costs is bloody ridiculous. The only way to do that would be to pump raw sewage. Besides, there would be contracted standards imposed on BOD, nitrates and suspended solids on the water supplied, in order to protect the power station plant. Meanwhile the better quality water goes to the city, and it costs less. The folks at Latrobe will still be getting clean drinking water from their present supply arrangements, since there has to be an excess to make the scheme work.
Unless there is a good cost advantage, this scheme will never get built. How can that result in higher charges to consumers?
Wood work but can't!
#146022 - 09/14/0610:40 AMRe: Plan to power state with recycled water