Katherine's new treatment plant almost ready

PLUGGED IN: Katherine's new emergency water treatment plant, the biggest of its type in Australia, is almost ready to go.

PLUGGED IN: Katherine's new emergency water treatment plant, the biggest of its type in Australia, is almost ready to go.

Katherine’s emergency water treatment plant is almost ready to go.

Power and Water today said it had successfully installed the Department of Defence ECT2 Katherine water treatment plant, designed to remove PFAS from Katherine’s drinking water supply, ahead of schedule.

“Power and Water commenced operational testing of the plant earlier this week and will be testing the quality of the water to make sure it meets our strict standards,” a spokeswoman said.

“Those results are expected over the forthcoming week and once confirmed, the plant will start feeding the treated water into the Katherine town supply.

“Power and Water continues to supply Katherine with safe drinking water through rigorous monthly testing in accordance with the Federal Department of Health and the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).”

The new plant is expect to treat one megalitre of contaminated bore water per day for Katherine.

The fear has always been that the first rains of the wet season will render the river difficult to treat and the traditional reliance on the bore backup would be difficult because of high PFAS levels.

The lateness of those first rains has aided the rush to have the plant operational.

The treatment plant’s bore regularly test above 0.2 micrograms per litre while the recommended safe level is 0.07.

A huge Antonov aircraft was charted to fly the plant from the east coast of the US last month via Alaska and Japan.

Water restrictions are expected to remain until a review likely next month.

The Department of Health maintains that the drinking water remains safe.

The plant cost $4 million, paid for by the Department of Defence.

Power and Water is investigating whether an upgraded treatment plant, or new bores to the north of the Katherine River, may be the long-term fix for Katherine.

There has been public disquiet over suggestions it could take two years to provide that permanent assurance of safe drinking water supplies.

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