Douglas Shire Council will implement gas chlorine disinfection which would assist in undertaking any chlorine-free trials.
Council currently uses liquid sodium hypochlorite as a disinfection agent to meet stringent Queensland Health regulations but will invest $375,000 in the odourless gas chlorination systems to replace it.
Mayor Julia Leu said Council will investigate the potential to return to a chlorine-free water system in the next 12 months.
Should chlorine-free trials occur as a result of this review, gas chlorine can be stored safely on-site allowing for instant disinfection in emergency contamination events, whereas sodium hypochlorite cannot be stored.
“There are a lot of hurdles to get over before we can consider returning to a chlorine-free water supply, but the introduction of gas chlorination systems and Council’s commitment to review the potential to return to chlorine-free water is very positive,” Mayor Leu said.
“Queensland Health regulations for water consumption have toughened considerably since the Douglas Shire boasted a chlorine-free water supply, but at the very least gas chlorination is a much better option than what we currently have.”
Other major water and wastewater initiatives announced today as part of Douglas Shire Council’s 2014-15 Budget include $200,000 to get the Mossman reservoir back on line.
With the current configuration of water reservoirs, Council only has an estimated 37 hours of water supply should a major failure occur.
The Mossman reservoir would relieve pressure from the existing Port Douglas reservoir and add five hours to emergency reserves as well as optimise chlorination more efficiently.
The Douglas Shire’s primary water supply intake at Rex Creek, which was built more than 60 years ago, will also be resurfaced at a cost of $160,000.
Wastewater initiatives include a sewer investigation and relining vital sewer lines in Mossman and Port Douglas at a cost of $300,000 which will extend the asset life by 20 years and reduce the need for expensive replacement programs.
Council will also purchase and install generators at critical pump stations in Mossman and Port Douglas at a cost of $100,000 to provide additional environmental assurances during power failures, when pump stations can overflow and cause health hazards.
“Council’s investment in water and wastewater technologies is a demonstration of the innovation Council is employing to improve environmental outcomes and be more efficient,” Mayor Leu said.