Council saves residents bucket loads

Published: 02 Sep 2022

Using innovative techniques and their world-class expertise, Mackay Regional Council’s Water Treatment team has saved ratepayers about $1 million in capital replacement costs.

Major upgrades have recently been completed at the Sarina Water Recycling Facility, which processes sewerage for the Sarina area.

The works at the facility involved a ‘slack adjustment’ on the membranes which filter recycled water and ensure it is of high quality for agricultural use or release back into the environment.

A slack adjustment refers to the tension under which the membranes, which filter the water, are held at. When the membranes are not held at the correct tension, they fail to filter harmful bacteria and suspended solids.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the project highlighted the great teamwork within the department and the level of technical expertise we have both at council and in the Mackay region.

“In general, the expected life of the membrane is seven years, but the ones at Sarina Water Recycling Facility are eight years old and we are looking at getting close to 15 years based on their condition,” Mayor Williamson said.

“Membranes are very expensive, close to $1 million to replace, so to get double the life expectancy and save those costs is a credit to our treatment team and highlights the care and attention the team gives to maintaining our assets,” he said.

Mayor Williamson said it was essential that this project was undertaken to continue to provide the best outcome for our water recycling scheme and to future-proof it for the growing population of our region.

“The project took place over only a week but took months of planning as it was a huge team effort between contractors, council’s own maintenance operations teams and our environmental and laboratory staff,” Mayor Williamson said.

“The slack adjustment overhaul was a technically challenging and labour-intensive process,” he said.

“However, it was done by our own operators and engineers, with the assistance of contractors, and was planned and completed on time and within budget.”

The project involved high risk activities with exposure to raw sewerage, working at heights and overhead loads.

This marks the third major project completed this year by council’s water team.

Over the past twelve months the team has completed the repair of the Southern Rising Main on Paradise Street and major maintenance upgrades of both the Mackay South Water Recycling Facility (MSWRF) and more recently the Mackay North Sewerage Treatment Plant.