|Marion Bay desalination plant under pressure|
|Friday, 30 January 2009|
A dramatic increase in the amount of water used by the Marion Bay Caravan Park, coupled with a breakdown at the desalination plant, that saw it out of action for four days, caused supply problems over the busy Christmas/New Year period.
While outlining a number of issues that arose during what is a period of peak demand, District Council of Yorke Peninsula CEO Ricki Bruhn said that as soon as Council staff became aware of the problem they acted quickly to address the situation. This included having water trucked in to ensure supply to the caravan park.
"Water from the plant to the two commercial businesses currently hooked up to the system, and the users of swipe-card operated water station is made clearly on the understanding that it is a non-guaranteed supply, Mr. Bruhn said.
Problems at the plant
Checking the plant on December 24 Council's Water Infrastructure Coordinator Grant Smith noticed the output was low and contacted Osmoflo, the company who are charged with the ongoing monitoring of all aspects of the plant. Adjustments were made to increase the output to 56,000 litres per day.
In a report to Council Mr. Smith explained that those adjustments caused the plant to shut down later in the day, with the alarm not recorded by Osmoflo. Council was not made aware of the problem until the caravan park ran out of water on December 27. Water was then transferred from a holding tank and the plant restarted. However with the caravan park using around 80,000 litres a day, and the plant producing 56,000 litres, several tanker loads of water were delivered to ensure supply.
Mr. Bruhn explained that staff would be taking up the issue with Osmoflo in regard to not being notified about the four-day shutdown. A water audit will also be undertaken at the caravan park with the water usage almost double previous estimates.
Replying to the question as to whether the previous bore supply could be utilized as a backup, Mr. Bruhn said that Council no longer draws water for the caravan park from the bore, does not intend to use it as an alternative, and therefore is under no obligation to maintain valves at the bore's pumping station.
The only other readily available water is from standpipes situated within Innes National Park, or from a tank on Well Road behind the Marion Bay Caravan Park that is very slow to fill. During a 'running fire' they source water from the nearest water point to the fire front. Mr. Bruhn also confirmed the Brigade's understanding that in the case of extreme emergency water from the desalination plant would be made available to the CFS.
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