Sydney desalter construction reaches halfway point

Construction of Sydney’s 250,000 m³/d Kurnell seawater desalination plant is just over 50% complete, D&WR has been told by Sydney Water. The intake and outlet tunnels were completed in December 2008.

The Seafox 6 jack-up barge continues to drill the inlet risers. Two inlet and two outlet risers have been completed.

Civil works, including the RO building, pump halls, pretreatment filters and backwash-water treatment structures, are largely complete. The Leopold filter underdrains are being installed in the pretreatment filters.

The racks of pressure vessels for the reverse-osmosis membranes and the DWEER energy-recovery units for the first module (125,000 m³/d) are in place, with units for the second module arriving. The high-pressure pumps are scheduled for delivery soon.

Many chemical systems including storage tanks and bunds are in place, including the lime silos and saturators. The 40,000 m³ drinking-water storage tank is about 75% complete and due to be finished in February.

The drinking-water pumping station and delivery pipeline is approximately 33% complete. The laying of pipe and microtunnelling is under way at a number of locations along the route.

The lay-barge is being commissioned and is expected to start laying a twin pipline across Botany Bay in February. The project is on schedule to be completed by the end of summer 2009-10.

When complete, the Sydney desalination plant will be the largest in Australia and among the largest seawater reverse-osmosis plants in the world. It is being delivered under a design-and-construct contract by Blue Water Joint Venture (John Holland, Veolia, SKM).

The plant is fully owned by Sydney Water and will be operated by Veolia Water Australia under a 20-year operation contract.