Gold Coast desalination plant finally handed over

The Tugun desalination plant in Gold Coast, Australia, was handed over to the Queensland state government on 1 October 2010 and has become part of the South East Queensland Water Grid (SEQWG).

The much delayed handover comes just as the area’s three main dams are approaching 100% capacity, following a month of record rainfall.

Queensland’s minister for infrastructure and planning, Stirling Hinchliffe, said practical completion of the 125,000 m³/d seawater reverse-osmosis plant had occurred and stringent construction requirements had been met.

“We said the Queensland Government wouldn’t accept handover of this facility until it was completed to world class standards and that is what we have done,” Hinchliffe said. “It has been completed within the Aus$ 1.2 billion (US$ 1.16 billion) budget and since February 2009 it produced more than 28 billion litres of high quality drinking water.”

The Tugun plant was constructed by the Gold Coast Desalination (GCD) Alliance, which comprised John Holland and Veolia Water with state government agency WaterSecure as the owner’s representative. Professional independent engineers, on behalf of WaterSecure, have verified that items identified in the 2009 Compliance Report have been satisfactorily completed.

Fixes following the report included:

  • 45 pipe couplings and some non-return valves affected by corrosion were replaced
  • The 1,000 m³ intermediate permeate tank was replaced
  • The saltwater intake shaft was inspected and repaired
  • The marine diffuser was strengthened
  • 120 m of more than 3 km of pipe were replaced following corrosion
  • Minor vibration of energy-recovery devices was eliminated
  • Faulty flexible pipes were replaced
  • Bolts securing valves on the reverse-osmosis train were replaced.
  • The capacity at which the plant operates (33, 66 or 100%.) will be determined by the SEQWG manager.