Protesters lobby ambassador
WATER used during the commissioning phase of the Wonthaggi desalination plant will be discharged into Bass Strait.
The plant’s design and construction contractor Thiess Degremont said this last week.
At about the same time that was being announced, members of Watershed Victoria were taking a deputation to the French Consulate in Melbourne, seeking a meeting with the French ambassador.
Watershed secretary Neil Rankine said the group wants the ambassador to clarify what relationship the French Government might have with Suez-Degremont, part of the desalination consortium AquaSure which owns and will operate the Wonthaggi plant.
Six Watershed members and five Melbourne supporters presented a letter, including three questions, seeking a meeting with the ambassador.
“We thought perhaps the ambassador could intervene on behalf of the people of Bass Coast,” Mr Rankine said.
Mr Rankine said Watershed members are concerned about “lack of transparent monitoring” of the desalination’s plant’s marine effluent.
“We asked if the ambassador could pressure AquaSure to give some guarantee in relation to putting in place monitoring that people of Bass Coast could trust.”
Water will be discharged from the permanent outlet structures off Williamson’s Beach, about 1.1km from the shoreline.
A Thiess Degremont works notification notice states that to commission the plant’s seawater lift pump station, seawater will be recirculated to the ocean through the pump system via permanent intake and outlet tunnels and structures.
The Star toured the construction site last year, noting the huge intake and outlet tunnels were big enough to drive a truck through.
Water used during testing of the water transfer pipeline will be progressively discharged to the ocean and, during the final stages of commissioning, seawater concentrate will be returned to the ocean.
The Thiess Degremont works notification notes the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued the relevant permits. It also states that no solid waste will be disposed to the ocean and that compliance is assessed by the EPA.
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