Katherine water river
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Following the successful pilot PFAS water treatment plant in Katherine in the Northern Territory, a new world-first treatment plant is scheduled for construction.

The existing treatment plant, which has been in operation since October 2017, has ensured drinking water sourced from groundwater has been safely provided to Katherine residents and visitors for almost three years.

Recently it reached a major milestone after successfully treating over one billion litres of groundwater.

During its operation, the existing plant has not discharged any waste streams into the environment, which means it is a safe and reliable system.

Supplied by the Department of Defence, the one million litres per day pilot plant uses leading ion exchange technology. 

This technology will now be used in the new world-first ten million litres per day treatment plant, currently under construction in Katherine.

Emerging Compounds Treatment Technologies (ECT2), who provided the pilot plant, has been engaged to deliver the new and significantly larger plant designed to meet future water demand over a 30-year planning horizon.

The new treatment plant is due to be fully commissioned early in 2021.

Power and Water’s Water Services Manager Assets, Skefos Tsoukalis, said this marked an exciting milestone for all involved and in particular for the Katherine community.

“To continue providing safe drinking water for Katherine residents is a huge responsibility for Power and Water,” Mr Tsoukalis said.

“It has been a very difficult and challenging few years for everyone while we came to terms with the PFAS contamination issue and how it could be managed. It hasn’t been an easy road for the community.”

The Katherine community was praised for being supportive of the compulsory conservation measures introduced to help protect the water supply.

Under these measures, demand was reduced by 20 per cent, about 2,000,000L per day.

“We need to keep working together to be water smart to maintain a safe drinking water supply,” Mr Tsoukalis said.

“Katherine residents have become great water efficiency champions, demonstrating tremendous responsibility in valuing this precious resource – thank you for your support and patience, and sharing this obligation to help keep water use down.

“While it’s been a long journey, we can be confident in the long-term solution for Katherine with proven technology and that’s a great achievement.”

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