Premier Richard Court said today the decision to use treated wastewater to irrigate the Port Hedland Golf Course was a victory for common sense which would have lasting benefits for the local community and the environment.
Officially launching the $2.4 million South Hedland Wastewater Treatment Plant and irrigation scheme at the Port Hedland Golf Course this afternoon, Mr Court said the project provided a long-term solution to community concern over increased levels of treated wastewater outflows.
The Premier said the facility would provide the community with a greatly improved sporting facility and, at the same time, would protect the environment.
“It is an excellent example of a relatively straightforward, yet highly beneficial process that is being applied increasingly in Western Australia,” he said.
Mr Court said treated wastewater was being used to irrigate tree farms, golf courses, public parks and playing fields in almost 60 schemes under way or planned across the State, including several operated privately by mining companies.
These were helping to conserve often scarce water resources, while in some cases diverting treated wastewater away from waterways.
Mr Court said treated wastewater had been used by the Town of Port Hedland to irrigate parks, verges and ovals for about 28 years.
However, because of strong growth in South Hedland excess treated wastewater had been discharged into the nearby creek system, and larvicide used in ponded areas to prevent mosquito breeding.
“Matters came to a head in 1998 when the community voiced its concern about the outflows which had peaked due to prolonged rainfall,” the Premier said.
He said the Water Corporation implemented a short-term plan to pump about half the excess to the tidal flushing zone at the mouth of South Creek, well away from residential areas.
Within 12 months, well ahead of schedule, the corporation had completed a long-term solution by constructing three basins at the South Hedland treatment plant, giving a total storage capacity of 88,000 kilolitres.
The project also involved construction of a large capacity pumping station with filtration and chlorination equipment, a 1.8km main pipeline to the golf course and a 6km pipeline around the course, plus lateral piping.
“The great news is that all treated wastewater from the South Hedland plant is now being used by the scheme, and not a drop is being discharged into the creeks,” Mr Court said.
He also congratulated the club for taking the opportunity to reconstruct almost all the tees and improve the 18-hole course.
Mr Court said the Port Hedland Golf Course was the second to be irrigated this way in the North-West following construction of a similar scheme at Broome about two years ago.
A third scheme was planned for the golf course at Derby, where there would also be benefits for the environment and a reduction in mosquito breeding.
The Premier also acknowledged major work completed in September by the Water Corporation to upgrade the East Pilbara water supply scheme.
The $20 million, four-year project to electrify and automate bores and pumps associated with the De Grey and Yule River borefields which supplied Port Hedland, was partly driven by cost efficiencies, as well as environmental factors.
“The scheme now has the capacity to meet anticipated increases in demand for water from both domestic and industrial sectors, including BHP’s hot briquetted iron plant,” Mr Court said.
Media contact: Casey Cahill 9222 9475