EIGHT huge multi-million-dollar filters to help keep Tweed's town water supplies clean have begun arriving at Tweed Shire Council's new $75 million Bray Park Water Treatment Plant in Murwillumbah.
The special filtration membranes valued at $5.7 million have been trucked to the treatment plant construction site in special crates, but will not be fully unpacked for more than two months.
Yesterday a Council spokesperson said the filters would need to be kept in temperature-controlled conditions until their installation in September or October this year.
The special filter membranes will be at the heart of the new state-of-the-art plant which Council officers say will deliver high-quality drinking water.
The filters are made up of millions of hollow spaghetti-like strands which, when placed under pressure, suck the water through their surface, in the process filtering out the unwanted organic and non-organic particles.
Acting Director Community and Natural Resources Anthony Burnham said the organic particles included harmful viruses and protozoans such as cryptosporidium and giardia.
Non-organic particles include fine sediment not already filtered by previous plant processes.
“When used in conjunction with post-filtration treatment such as chlorination and pH stabilisation, this process produces high-quality drinking water,” Mr Burnham said.
“Tweed Shire extracts its water from the Tweed River at the Bray Park weir, being at the end of a large, unprotected freshwater catchment so high levels of treatment are required to ensure drinking quality standards are met.”
Mr Burnham said about 6.5 million small filter fibres, each less than 1.9mm (less than an inch) across would be used in the first stage of the plant, spread throughout four filtration tanks.
Construction of the new Bray Park plant began in November 2007, with the major components of the project scheduled to be completed in September or October this year.
Mr Burnham expects to then start firing up the new plant and begin pumping water through it to the town water supply in November or December.
When that begins the Council hopes to use the new plant to filter water overnight to feed reservoirs so that normal supplies are maintained to the public.
Mr Burnham said the new water treatment plant would service the drinking water needs of most of the Tweed Shire.
The upgrade would increase capacity from 55 megalitres a day to 100 megalitres a day to service an expected shire population of 120,000 by 2020.