Shark makes home in Perth II desalination plant

The Water Corporation in Western Australia has confirmed that a wobbegong (carpet) shark has been found in the seawater intake station at the Southern Seawater Desalination Plant during scheduled maintenance work.

The 22 m deep station is at the beach end of a 500 m long, 2 m diameter pipeline that brings seawater into the recently opened plant, built to supply the city of Perth, from the ocean.

Water Corporation spokesperson Clare Lugar said on 15 November 2011 that the shark had most likely entered the station via the pipeline during the plant’s construction while a grated screen was not in place.

“The shark is still alive and we are now attempting to catch it using a net and remove it from the station,” she said. “It is not possible for the shark to enter the main area of the desalination plant, and at no time has water quality been compromised.”

Lugar said the shark may have escaped early checks of the system as it was somewhere in the pipeline that could not be visually checked for safety reasons.

“It would not be possible for a similar shark to enter the station again via the pipe as the screen would now prevent this.”