101_4537Eight containers the size of semi-trailers have arrived at the new $75 million Bray Park Water Treatment Plant (WTP) construction site in Murwillumbah, signalling a major milestone for the project.

Inside the containers are filtration membranes worth $5.7 million, which will need to be kept in temperature-controlled conditions until their installation in September/October this year.

This ultrafiltration membrane technology is at the heart of the new state-of-the-art plant, and will deliver high-quality drinking water for the needs of the Tweed’s population today and well into the future, according to Tweed Shire Council.

The filters are made up of millions of hollow spaghetti-like strands which when placed under pressure suck the water through their surface, in the process filtering out the unwanted organic and non-organic particles.

Acting Director Community and Natural Resources Anthony Burnham said these organic particles include harmful viruses and protozoans such as cryptosporidium and guardia, while the non-organic particles includes fine sediment not already filtered by previous plant processes.

“When used in conjunction with post-filtration treatment such as chlorination and pH stabilisation, this process produces high-quality drinking water,” Mr Burnham said.

There are approximately 6.5 million filter fibres in total for the first stage of the plant which will be spread throughout four filtration tanks. The filter fibres have a 0.9mm thick wall with an outside diameter of 1.9mm and inside diameter of 0.8mm.

Construction of the Bray Park WTP began in November 2007, with the major components of the project scheduled to be completed in September/October this year.

Process commissioning is scheduled to start in September/October 2009 with the plant going live to the public in November/December 2009.

“During process commissioning of the new plant the existing plant will produce water overnight to feed reservoirs and maintain supply to the public,” Mr Burnham said.

The Bray Park Water Treatment Plant services the drinking water needs of the most of the Tweed Shire. The upgrade will increase the capacity from 55 megalitres a day to 100 megalitres a day to service an expected shire population of 120,000 by 2020.

“Tweed Shire extracts its water from the Tweed River at the Bray Park Weir, being at the end of a large, unprotected freshwater catchment, so high levels of treatment are required to ensure drinking quality standards are met,” Mr Burnham said.