Water quality in Childers, Woodgate, Bargara and other coastal areas will be improved after Council awarded a $30.1 million contract to upgrade the Gregory River and Kalkie water treatment plants.
Water services portfolio spokesman Cr Jason Bartels said it’s a “significant investment” in future proofing the region’s water supply.
“We’ve seen the population increase significantly in coastal areas and this upgrade will ensure a first-class water supply to cater for growth over the next 20 years,” he said.
“This Council has spent more on water and wastewater improvements than any previous council in the history of the Bundaberg Region.
“Rubyanna was our biggest infrastructure project and these two upgrades combined are among the biggest as well.”
Cr Bartels said work on the Gregory River plant will begin later this year and Kalkie next year.
“The Gregory River WTP supplies treated water to the townships of Woodgate, Childers and other rural areas,” he said.
“The existing plant experiences high spikes in turbidity after wet weather.
“The upgrade will address this issue using modern treatment processes and will increase the plant capacity to cater for population growth to 2040.”
Cr Bartels said the Kalkie upgrade will address taste and odour issues which sometimes occur after prolonged periods of dry and warm weather.
General Manager Infrastructure, Stuart Randle, said Council bundled the two projects together to attract interest from qualified firms and potentially achieve economies of scale.
“The tender has been awarded to Stirloch Constructions who have extensive experience in public and private sector water and wastewater projects,” he said.
“There were no local bidders for this highly specialised work.
“Council requires Stirloch to employ local sub-contractors and purchase goods and services from local businesses wherever possible.
“We originally intended to commence the Kalkie upgrade sooner but none of our shortlisted contractors were able to do the work within our original budget estimate.”
Mr Randle said interim measures would be in place at Kalkie to minimise taste and odour issues over summer.
“Surveillance of the raw water is being increased to improve early detection,” he said.
“If we are faced with an event, we have the ability to blend more water from Bundaberg to reduce the impact.
“Under normal operation the system can transfer approximately 30 per cent from Bundaberg and if required this can be increased to above 50 per cent, which will reduce the severity of any event.
“The water is always safe to drink.”