A new water treatment plant to remove per-and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), supplied by the Department of Defence, has been installed in Katherine in the Northern Territory to help protect the town’s drinking water supply.

Power and Water has successfully completed the installation of Emerging Compounds Treatment Technologies (ECT2) water treatment plant, and it is now operating and removing PFAS from Katherine’s ground-water supply. It is producing 12.5 litres per second of high-quality drinking water with undetectable levels of PFAS.

Testing of the treated water in early November 2017 has confirmed the water supply is within the Australian Government Department of guidance values and is safe to drink.

Power and Water’s Chief Executive General Manager of Water Services, Robert Brito, said this means the ECT2 treatment plant is able to supply treated water bore water with undetectable levels of PFAS at around 1,000,000 litres a day.

“This is equivalent to 10 per cent of current overall water demand for Katherine. This treated water is now being blended with treated river water and incorporated into the town’s reticulated water supply. This measure will help safeguard Katherine’s water supply and ensure the tap water remains safe for consumption,” Mr Brito said.

The town’s safe drinking water supply is also being used by Katherine Town Council to fill the Katherine YMCA pool.

Mr Brito said Power and Water is carefully managing the town’s supply to ensure the pool is refilled with safe water and without disruption to the water supply.

“Power and Water is continuing to put into action an integrated water management strategy to ensure safe tap water is provided for Katherine residents and businesses,” Mr Brito said.

Thanks to the efforts of the Katherine community, water use continues to remain down by nearly 20 per cent, or 2,000,000 litres, compared to the lead-in to the wet season this time in 2016.

This community effort has seen all water supplied to the community since August sourced from the Katherine River. The current testing regime shows there are negligible concentrations of PFAS in Katherine River.

The Katherine water treatment plant is designed to treat water all year round and this includes when the river water is affected by the first rains of the season.

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