Corrosion and vibration slow Gold Coast commissioning

The progress of the Gold Coast seawater reverse-osmosis (RO) desalination plant in Queensland, Australia, towards its commissioning targets has been slowed by several problems, which are now being addressed.

In a statement on 13 January 2009, Paul Lucas, Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrasture & Planning for Queensland, said that the most pressing problem was the early corrosion apparent in 45 pipe-couplings in the RO section. He stated that Water Secure, the state government body that will ultimately own the Aus$ 1.2 billion (US$ 815 million) plant, will not take it over until these and other faults are fixed.

Other problems identified during commissioning include:

  • Faults with pipes joining the RO skids, most of which may need to be replaced;
  • A problem with the plant’s valves, which the supplier may need to progressively replace;
  • Excessive vibration in the RO system, which is not unknown in RO startups, and has been addressed.
  • “The best replacement parts are being established now and work will begin as soon as possible,” said Lucas. “But … we are talking about work that could take several months; some of these parts are custom-made.”

    The 125,000 m³/d plant is now aiming at 33% production by 5 February 2009 and 100% by 20 February.

    The article on the project which was published in D&WR magazine’s August/September 2008 issue is being added to the site.