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Wonthaggi Desalinisation Plant

Water Wastage Punished In New Bills (July 1 2013)

Melbourne Water Prices To Rise (June 25 2013)

Desal Builder Files First of $1b In Claims (May 6 2013)

Water Bills May Soar To Recoup Desalination Costs (April 21 2013)

Desal Plant Could Sit Idle For Three Years (March 27 2013)

How To Save Billions Dump The Desal Deal (February 25 2013)

Calls From Deputy Premier's Electorate For $21m Desal Link (February 18 2013)

Labor MP Tim Holding Set To Resign (February 15 2013)

Lib Vow On Desal Water (January 21 2013)

More links to Desal Plant History

"...the [Victorian Employer's Chamber of Commerce and Industry] began lobbying for desal around 2005 after big water users among its membership warned that lack of water certainty in Victoria was causing them to consider relocating to NSW or New Zealand.

Melbourne's Top Water Users according to Herald Sun 31/10/07

101 Collins Street AMP Capital Investors Air Liquide Australia
Albright & Wilson Australia Aisco Aisco Mulgrave
Aluminium Profiles Australia Amcor Fibre Packaging Australasia Amcor Packaging (Aust)
AMP PC SC Arnott's Snackfoods ASSA ABLOY Australia
Ausco Fitzroy Austin Hospital Australia On Collins
Australian Textile Company Australian Vinyls Corporation Balada Poultry
Barrett Burston BASF Australia Bayside Health
Betta Foods Australia Bluescope Steel BOC
Boral Aust Gypsum Box Hill Hospital BPL Melbourne
Bradmill (closed) Broadmeadows Shopping Centre Bundoora Park
CSL - Bioplasma Division Cadbury Schweppes Cargill Processing
Castricum Brothers Centro Box Hill Shopping Centre Centro The Glen Shopping Centre
Chadstone Shopping Centre Chiquita Mushrooms City of Brimbank
City of Melbourne City West Water Coca-Cola Amatil (AUST)
Coogee Energy Corrections Victoria - Metropolitan Remand Centre Crown Melbourne
Crowne Plaza Melbourne Cryovac Australia CSL
Dandenong Hospital DB BREEF Funds Management Department of Defence
Department of Justice Department of Treasury & Finance Department of Defence - HMAS Cerberus
Dow Chemical Australia Eastland Shopping Centre Ecogen Energy
Encore Tissue Ensign Services Vic Epworth Hospital
Ernest Smith Contracts Esso Aust Fed Square
Ford Motor Company Forest Hill Shopping Centre Foster's Australia - Abbotsford Brewery
Foster's Australia - Airport West (closed) Freshwater Commercial No 1 & 2 G & K O'Connor
G A Gathercole G M Holden Genevieve Yarn Dyers
George Weston Foods Glaxosmithkline Aust Golden Circle
Goodman Fielder GPT Management Grand Hyatt Melbourne
Greensborough Plaza Shopping Centre Hawker De Havilland Hexion Speciality Chemicals - Laverton North
Highpoint Shopping Centre Hobsons Bay City Council Holeproof
Huhtamaki Australia Huntsman Chemical Company Australia Independent Distillers
Industry Park Inghams Enterprises Inghams Enterprises Thomastown International Flavours & Fragrances (Australia)
ISPT Kraft Foods La Ionica Poultry
Lafarge Plasterboard Latrobe University Leading Synthetics
Leading Textiles Lesaffre Australia Pacific Maroondah Hospital
Mayne Pharma Melb Live Melbourne & Olympic Park Management
Melbourne Airport Melbourne Central Melbourne Central Tower
Melbourne Cricket Club Melbourne Health Melbourne Linen Service
Melbourne Market Authority Melbourne Stadiums Melbourne Water
Mobil Refining Australia Monash Medical Centre Clayton Monash University
Moonee Valley Racing Club Mrs Crockets Properties Myer (NB Lonsdale)
National Foods Milk - Vic Nestle Co Aust Nestle Confectionery
Nestle Peters New Wave Leathers Nissan Castings Australia
Northland Shopping Centre Nufarm Chemicals O-I Asia Pacific
Olex Australia One Steel Orica Australia
Pacific Brands Hosery Pacific Shopping Centres Australia - Werribee Plaza Pacifica Group
Parmalat Australia PCH Melbourne Peerless Holdings
Peninsula Health Peter James Centre Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute
Phillip Morris Pilkington Aust Princes Laundry Services - Box Hill
Princes Laundry Services - Preston Princes Laundry Services Qenos Olefins
Qenos Plastics Qenos Resins QV Property Management
Repatriation Hospital Ridders Fresh RMIT University
Robert Bosch (Aust) Royal Children's Hospital Royal Melbourne Hospital
Royal Women's Hospital Sakata Rice Snacks Sca Hygiene Australasia
Simpson Army Barracks Sisters of Charity South Pacific Tyers
Southgate Hotel Management Southland Trust Spotless Linen Services
St Frances Xavier Cabrini Hospital St Martins Victoria & Grollo Australia - Rialto Towers St Vincent's Hospital
State Sports Centres Trust Stericlean Linen Services Sugar Australia
Sunshine Hospital Symex Holdings The Cabrini Linen Service
The Northern Hospital Toyota Motor Corporation University of Melbourne
Venture Industries Victoria Racing Club Victoria Wool Processors
Victorian Arts Centre (shared with National Gallery of Victoria) Visy Beverage Division Visy Pulp & Paper - Reservoir
Visy Pulp & Paper - Coolaroo Westfield Shopping Centre Westfield Shopping Centre (Management Co (Vic)
Zoological Board of Victoria    

"Melbourne Water's own feasibility study, which recommended the Gippsland site over three other options, found a high risk of visual impacts. It also highlighted water quality risks because of the plant's proximity to Wonthaggi's sewage treatment outfall..." (The Age June 20 2007)

Desal Water: Boron, Bromate, Bromine & Bromide


Smoothing The Waters Amid $1130 Bill Shock (December 4 2012)

I Did What They Asked Desal Designer Says (December 3 2012)

Red Light Flashes On Melbourne Water's Debt Risk (November 15 2012)

Desal Plant Delay Penalties Refused (November 7 2012)

Water Bills Soar To Pay For Desal Plant (November 2 2012)

Desal Plant Reaches Target - One Year Late (October 9 2012)

Desal Chief Banks On $1bn Win (October 3 2012)

Desal Water Runs But No Drinking For Years (September 27 2012)

Minister Accused Of Desal Spin On Water Bills (September 19 2012)

Water To Flow From Wonthaggi Plant (September 7 2012)

Farmers Claim $241m Compensation From Desal Builders (August 27 2012)

Desal Debacle The Aussie Revenge (August 2 2012)

French Envoy Intervenes In Desal Saga (July 6 2012)

Dammed If We Do Or Don't But The Desal Will Cost Us Plenty (June 25 2012)

Desal Hiccup Hands Over $118m Lib Dividend (June 16 2012)

Water Billing Scandal Grows (June 14 2012)

Water Bill Bungle Hits Households (June 13 2012)

Desal Firm Sorry Over Secret Files (June 5 2012)

Council Cops Opponents Anger Over Desal Art Gift (May 2 2012)

States First Desal Order Not A Drop Thanks (April 2 2012)

Investors Bolt From Leighton (March 30 2012)

Strikebreaker To Hand Over Desal Employee Files (March 20 2012)

Hope Springs Despite The Desal Disaster (March 5 2012)

State Rejects Desal Consortiums $13 Billion Bid For Taxpayer Bailout (February 25 2012)

Desal Consortium Seeks $1 Billion From Taxpayers (February 24 2012)


It's Not Too Late Premier To Save Us From The Desal Disaster (December 26 2011)

Wages, Water and Wonthaggi (December 13 2011)

Workplace Reform Warriors Call For Desal Inquiry As Building Costs Rise (December 13 2011)

Desal Firm Adds Millions To Compo Bid (December 12 2011)

The Price Of A Drink (December 12 2011)

Blind Panic And A City Running Dry - The Desal Nightmare (December 10 2011)

That Sinking Feeling (December 10 2011)

Desal Builder Wants Strikebreaker Cash Repaid (November 18 2011)

Desal Manager Charged In Pub Attack (November 16 2011)

A Year Late And A Financial Disaster Desal Companies Take Legal Action (October 28 2011)

Leighton Signals Further $192million Loss (October 27 2011)

Warning: The Desalinisation Plant May Be Bad For Your Health (October 17 2011)

Desal Builder Backs Off Plan To Sack 160 (September 29 2011)

Desal Bosses Had Strike Breaker Plan (September 15 2011)

Desal Safety Made An IR Issue (September 8 2011)

Desalination Plants Quality Hard To Swallow (August 29 2011)

Electrical Workers Blamed For Desal Sabotage (August 23 2011)

Desal Layoffs Spur Court Action (August 19 2011)

160 Workers Sacked At Desal Plant (August 18 2011)

Water Bill Anger in SA Also Over Desal Construction (August 18 2011)

Builder Hit hard By Desal Troubles (August 5 2011)

Desal Contract Will Impoverish Victorians and We Don't Even Need The Water (July 26 2011)

Desal Wages Same As Other State Projects (July 15 2011)

Desal Strike Heads To Court (June 22 2011)

Water Bills May Jump By A Third (June 21 2011)

Desal Strikers Defy Fair Work Ruling (June 21 2011)

Dispute A Risk To Desal Work Builder (June 20 2011)

1200 Workers Walk Off Desal Site (June 17 2011)

Desal Wants A Rain Cheque (April 26 2011)

Desalination Delays - 7.30 Victoria. (April 15 2011)

Desal Firms Profit Wipeout (April 12 2011)

Leighton Halt Rubs Salt In Wounds (April 8 2011)

Slow Train Wreck Been Weeks A-Comin (April 8 2011)

Baillieu Adviser Urges New Desal Contract: April 7 2011

Desal Plant Debacle For Builder: April 6 2011

Billions Down The Drain In Kafkaesque Desal Nightmare: March 28 2011

Melburnians Face Rocketing Water Bills To Pay For Desalination Plant: March 1 2011

Labor Leaves Legacy Of Debt: March 1 2011

Victorians Stuck With Desal Plant: March 1 2011

Desal Builder Probes Jobs For Sale Charge: February 16 2011

Water Flood Blamed On Desal Pipe: February 12 2011

Farmers To Sue Over Victoria's Desalination Plant: February 8 2011

Melbourne Water Users Slapped With Desal Tax Despite Recent Flood: January 20 2011

Wontahggi Desal Plant Is A Flood Victim: January 20 2011


Sacked Desal Plant Spy Wanted $15m Payout: December 23 2010

Desal Plant Chief Stood Down: November 19 2010

Letter to Age: November 19 2010

Desal spying shows Brumby's hypocrisy. SPIES have been engaged at the desalination plant and unions are outraged. That's interesting. People were outraged when it was revealed that police would provide confidential police information to the builders about protesters. I didn't hear then that unions were downing tools, but given their fat salaries they had a big dose of self-interest to keep them going. Now the boot is on the other foot. The unions are outraged and are not going to work. The Premier, who is happy for private information to flow from the police to the company, is ''deeply concerned'' that his mates in the union movement have been spied on. What a double standard. I suggest that the unions just put up with it - this is what happens in the great state of Victoria.

Spy Claims Desal Plant Workers Down Tools: November 18 2010

Workers Down Tools After Spies Infiltrated Victorian Desalination Plant: November 18 2010

Spies Infiltrated Victorian Desalination Plant: November 18 2010

Murky Waters (7.30 Report): November 10 2010

Desalination Work Halted: October 21 2010

Police Deal Crucial To Desal Go Ahead: October 13 2010

Not Too Late To Stop The Disaster That Is Our Desalination Plant: October 11 2010

Desal Plant Cost Could Hit $24 Billion: October 8 2010

Land of Poor White Trash Approaching: October 4 2010

The Desal Cup Runneth Over With Our Cash: September 27 2010

Police Accused Over Files: September 24 2010

Water Pricing Choices To Flow: September 22 2010

What Price Water Transparency (Age Editorial): September 18 2010

Brumby In Furore On Desal Deal: September 18 2010

Desal Plant a $570 Million AYear Drain: September 17 2010

Opposition Slams Waste In Brumbys Water Policy: September 16 2010

Investors To Receive Super Profits: September 10 2010

Water Plan Springs A Leak: September 8 2010

Brumby's Giant Money Pit: August 28 2010

Desal Plants Fuel Price Hikes: July 21 2010

Missed This? Lyndhurst Tipped To Take Desal Sludge: April 21 2008

Brumby Running Secret State: June 24 2010

Victorian Desalination Developer Put On Notice - EPA: June 16 2010

Victoria's Desal Plant in Trouble Over Toxic Soil: June 16 2010

Time To Come Clean On The Cost Of Water: May 31 2010

Desal Plant's Environmental Approval Flawed: April 20 2010

Is the Victorian Government Entitled to Spy On Protesters Trying To Stop Important State Projects?: April 16 2010

Water Plans Drift Behind A Veil of Secrecy: April 12 2010

$150m Desal Pay Bonanza: March 22 2010

Desal Company 'Spying': March 14 2010

The Sassy Aftertaste of the New Eau De Kurnell Chlorine: January 29 2010

Desalinisation Workers May Get Strike Pay: January 29 2010


Four Day Pay Bonanza: December 24 2009

We're Dudded On Water But No One Rebels: December 21 2009

Flawed Figures Condemn Our Descendants to Needless Debt: December 14 2009

Quasi Terrorist Treatment for Tea and Biscuit Protesters: December 13 2009

January 22 2009, Toolangi State Forest. Corporate 'Man of Mystery' adding people opposing North South Pipeline, into corporate database. The corporations already were carrying out protester surveillance, now the Government is doing it for them for free! Where does such information end up? Is it in turn sold on to other interested 'parties'?

True Cost of Desal Plant Concealed: December 12 2009

Overland Denies Deal Shift: December 12 2009

Overland Backtracks in Files Row: December 11 2009

OPI Called In As Police Files Storm Intensifies: December 9 2009

Hiring Delays on Desal Project: December 8 2009

Watchdog Wary of Secret Files on Desal Protesters: December 8 2009

Letters to the Editor Age Newspaper 7/12/09

Letter 1: Abuse of citizens plumbs dark new depths in Victoria December 7, 2009

"I THOUGHT that I lived in Victoria in 2009, not East Germany in 1984. Now I realise that I was sadly mistaken. The passing of intelligence from the Victorian Government to a private company (''Secret police files given to desal firms'', The Age, 5/12) is a gross breach of my human rights, and a disgusting abuse of power. The desalination planning process has been dodgy, to say the least, and this latest bombshell shows just how desperate John Brumby and Tim Holding have become. For more than two years, we have been peacefully seeking answers about this project - its impact on our community and the marine environment - but all we get is propaganda and political spin. If this gigantic plant is going to be so innocuous, then why all the secrecy and paranoia? I hope that the big banks will consider this latest abuse of honest, law-abiding citizens before they continue to support an energy-guzzling, ecosystem-destroying blot on our environment. They have, after all, signed the Equator Principles."

Letter 2: Fate is sealed

"THE Brumby Government's jackboot regime of governance has been exposed. If you dare to oppose the Victorian Government's ''fast-tracked'' major infrastructure projects, be prepared to have a secret dossier filed on you and given to some overseas company whose intent it is to make exorbitant profits from Australia. The north-south pipeline protesters are people who are the backbone of our communities. They are teachers, CFA volunteers, captains and group officers, Rotary club presidents and members, company executives, Red Cross members, nurses, CWA members, retired police officers, shire councillors, food producers and exporters, and former water engineers. These people are angry at the erosion of our democratic right to have full and proper consultation and the right to have access to a transparent business case on these projects. This disgraceful action by the Labor Government has sealed its fate at the next election."

Letter 3: Shades of Stalin

"I WAS astonished to see that the Brumby Government has used our police and public resources to gather private information that it hands to private foreign corporations. I was even more surprised to see some private apologist justifying this on television on the basis that such clauses are standard in public-private partnership agreements. What else do these agreements contain? Perhaps a clause that our justice system will do as these foreign corporations tell them to? Are we living in a state where freedom and democracy is modelled on Hitler's, Stalin's or McCarthy's standards - or all of the above? Once again Victorians have been sold out by a Government that seems to revel in removing our rights, and seems now to have stooped to selling off our privacy to the highest bidder."

"Dear Editor, Peaceful protestors from Watershed and Plug the Pipe have ended up in a similar spot to Blue Wedges who, somehow, in 2005 joined Somali pirates, Peruvian raiders and Gulf terrorists on the US Office of Naval Intelligence's international threat list as a “credible threat to international shipping” (Age 28/1/08). We wondered how we got there, given the worst we have ever done is shake our fists at a dredge. Now we know. Mr. Brumby has been at it for years, turning normal people into terrorists. It’s time for the unelected, unrepresentative rabble calling itself the Brumby government to be listed as a credible threat to our civil liberties and the environment." Jenny Warfe Blue Wedges

Desal Plant Figures Don't Hold Water: December 7 2009

Secret Files on Protesters Given to Desal Consortium: December 5 2009

Olex Wins Desal Power Cables Deal Worth $43m: Nov 17 2009

Water Crisis As Bad As A War ALP: Oct 11 2009

Work Begins on Controversial Desal Plant: Oct 7 2009

Query on Question Mark Punctuates Desal Controversy: Oct 7 2009

Desal Protesters Target Key Banks: Sep 8 2009

Mates in Desal Advice: Aug 4 2009

Protesters to Renew Campaign Against Desal Plant: Aug 3 2009

Desal Firm Logged the Amazon: Aug 2 2009

Glenthompson Wind to Add Power to the Melbourne Desalinisation Plant: Aug 1 2009

Failed Desal Bidder May Get $10m: Aug 1 2009

Brumby's $3.5 Billion Desal Gamble: July 31 2009

Wanna bet the eventual cost blows out by 50%? One rumour is costs as high as $9b!

Costs already blown out by 13% from $3.1b to $3.5b.

Underground Power Fails to Soothe Locals: July 31 2009

Water Bans to Stay for Three Years Before Wonthaggi Desal Plant Ready: July 31 2009

Brumby's Dream is Far From Water Tight: July 31 2009

Aquasure's Victory Stuns Bidding Rival: July 31 2009

From the Ocean to the Kitchen Sink: July 31 2009

A Lack of Ingenuity is Evident in Dealing With Our Water Crisis: July 28, 2009

Water Policy Delivers Scary Possibilities: June 25, 2009

Case for $2b Water Plan Kept Secret: April 5, 2009

Water Projects Not Needed: March 29, 2009

Bracks Back in Desal Waters as Bidders Eye Funds March 11, 2009

Desal Plant Needs Lifeline March 10, 2009

Cash Flows for Desalinisation Dry Up March 9, 2009

Feb 6 2009: Protest outside Tim Holding's Electoral Office in Springvale.

Desal Plant Spending to Blow Out January 31, 2009

Legal Costs Soar On Desal Plant January 30, 2009.

Vic Govt in Fight Over Desalinisation Plant January 15, 2009

Power to Desal Plant Next Battle January 10, 2009

Surfers Dumped By State January 10, 2009


Desal Lines Hit Land Values October 29, 2008

Councils Pact on Desal Power August 11, 2008

Seven Arrested at Wonthaggi Desal Protest July 15, 2008

Mine Of Information On Wonthaggi Desal Plant Site Lost With Missing Maps July 6, 2008

Desalination Protesters Group Hit By Court Costs June 14, 2008

Desal Raises Environmental, Cost Concerns April 29, 2008

Approximate location of Wonthaggi desal plant in yellow (above).

Desal Advisors Get $30m Contracts May 16, 2008

Dunes Dispute on Rugged Shire May 9, 2008

Labor Ignored Warning Over Desal Plant Costs May 9, 2008

Pollution Fears Force Output Cut In Desal Plant April 18, 2008

Search For Coast Site Begins June 20, 2007


Kilcunda Beach

Water Plant's Land Grab 25/1/08

Desal Water and Boron, Bromate, Bromine & Bromide

According to the World Health Organisation in their Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality (Third Edition Incorporating The First and Second Addenda Volume 1 2008 page 111. Section 6.4 Desalination Systems Refer to Appendix B for extract WHO in Section 6.4 Desalinisation Systems; "chemicals, such as boron and bromide, that are more abundant in seawater" and with Disinfection By Products (DBPs) "Other chemical issues, such as control of additives," DBPs ....greater quantities may be involved in desalinisation. Due to the presence of bromide in seawater, the distribution of DBPs will likely be dominated by brominated organics...".


Why are acceptable levels of Boron in drinking water in Australia set at levels 8 times higher than those set by the World Health Organisation?

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) are currently in the process of reviewing the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. NHMRC have not proposed any changes to the levels of Boron in the Draft 2009 Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) Guidelines as 4mg/l. The Draft 2009 ADWG guideline proposed for Boron (small amendment) only partially address issues regarding lower levels of boron stating: “Although boron is an essential trace element for plants, certain plants (e.g. citrus fruit, stone fruit, some nut trees) are sensitive to the toxic effects of boron if irrigation water has concentrations higher than about 0.5  mg/L (Lazarova and Bahri 2005). WHO (2006) indicates that this concentration is below the level that can be achieved by practical treatment methods. Application of waste water containing 0.8–1.3 mg/L to young orange trees for three years was well tolerated (Reboll et al 2000)".

The Draft 2009 ADWG Boron fact sheet overlooks impact of emerging technologies where levels of Boron found in drinking water from desalination plants (using reverse osmosis) are critical. Levels of 4mg/l of Boron are fatal when directly applied to many plant species in agriculture industry. The quote above from Draft 2009 ADWG overlooks the myriad of crops & ornamental plants that are sensitive to concentrations of boron less than 4 mg/l Refer Oct 2005 Draft Australian National Guidelines water Recycling pages 277 Table A 7.3  & 275 Table A7.4 See Appendix C for full list of plant tolerance to  boron.

Levels of Boron set in these 2008 National Guidelines Water Recycled has recognise this issue & set max concentrations at 0.9 mg/l. Moreover, this critical Boron level is recognised by SA Water at the Bolivar Waste Water Recycling Plant. SA Water has set the levels of Boron in their recycled water at less than 1mg/l to supply local market gardens at Virginia.

The Draft 2009 draft does not refer “specifically” to WHO studies on health affects of Boron (done as early as 2003) which then recommend 0.5 mg/l  (provisional) Refer page 10  “Boron in Drinking-water- Background document for development of  Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality WHO/SDE/WSH/03.04/54. And in a later WHO 2005 document “Nutrients in Drinking Water, Sanitation and Health Protection and the Human Environment” Section 12 on ’HEALTH RISKS FROM DRINKING DEMINERALISED WATER’ states on Page 149 “After evaluating the available health, organoleptic, and other information, the team recommended that demineralised water ---contain boron (0.5 mg/L).

Recommend BORON: For 2009 ADWG adopt the 2008 WHO Drinking Water Guidelines 0.5mg/L  (provisional).


Why are acceptable levels of Bromate in drinking water in Australia set at levels twice those set by the World Health Organisation?

The levels of bromate set in the 2004 ADWG not to exceed 0.02 mg/L. has not been amended in the Draft 2009 ADWG. The WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality THIRD EDITION INCORPORATING THE FIRST AND SECOND ADDENDA Volume 1 Chemical fact sheets 12.15 recommends a much lower Provisional guideline of 0.01 mg/litre for Bromate.

The 2004 ADWG does not take into account the levels of Bromate /Brominated compounds now being observed through (a) Desalination process  (b) Increasing quantities of disinfectant chemicals now required to treat polluted water needed or drinking purposes.

Recommend: BROMATE 2009 ADWG adopt the 2008 WHO drinking water guidelines. Based on health considerations, the concentration of bromate in drinking water should be 0.01mg/L  (provisional)  *note precedent set as Draft 2009 AGWG set for Arsenic accepted the 2008 WHO Drinking Water Guidelines provisional level for Arsenic.


Neither Australian 2004 ADWG nor Draft 2009 ADWG set any guideline values for this chemical. Levels of bromine in water are critical in the desalination process (reverse osmosis) for production of drinking water. Disinfection by-products (DBPs), such as trihalomethanes (THM’s) are formed when chlorine and bromine interact with natural organic materials (NOM’s) in water, such as in chlorinated drinking water.

The WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality THIRD EDITION INCORPORATING THE FIRST AND SECOND ADDENDA Volume 1 2008 page Section 6.4 does state  “Due to the presence of bromide in seawater, the distribution of DBPs will likely be dominated by brominated organic" but  the current 2008 WHO  guidelines do not  recommended a value. However in an earlier WHO 2005 document “Nutrients in Drinking Water, Sanitation and Health Protection and the Human Environment” Section 12 on ’HEALTH RISKS FROM DRINKING DEMINERALISED WATER’  sets a value for Bromine on Page 149 “After evaluating the available health, organoleptic, and other information, the team recommended that demineralised water --- contain level bromine (0.01 mg/L).

However the 2008 Australian National Guidelines Water Recycling have addressed this issue and set Bromine values for Maximum Concentrations 0.28 mg/l Guidelines 7.0 mg/l (refer pages 34,110)

Recommend: BROMINE That the 2009 ADWG recognise that levels of Bromine in drinking water need to be addressed (Desalination) and adopt the values set in 2008 Australian National Guidelines Water Recycling of Maximum Concentrations 0.28mg/l & Guideline 7mg/l


Neither WHO 2008 drinking Water Guidelines, Australian 2004 AWWG or Draft 2009 ADWG set any guideline values for this chemical. Levels of bromide in water are critical in the disinfection process for production of suitable drinking water free of Disinfectant By Products DBP’s).

Bromide can be reintroduced to drinking water from the desalination process. So one of the important factors to consider would be the amounts of brominated organic by-products that could be formed from pre-disinfection of salt waters containing bromide, and from disinfection /blending waters Reference paper  “IMPACT OF BROMIDE ON DISINFECTION BYPRODUCT FORMATION WHEN BLENDING DESALINATED WATER WITH SURFACE WATER Author David Cook, Mary Drikas, Australian Water Quality  & Con Pelekani and Geoff Kilmore Centre SA Water Corporation.

This study was done by SA Water at Happy Valley Reservoir. “ The  Results showed that the impact of bromide on DBP formation in blended water will depend on selected water quality parameters, particularly DOC and bromide concentration, with DOC concentration ultimately dependent upon the extent of treatment used for the non-desalinated blending water." Furthermore their findings of concentrations of  bromide up to 0.65mg/L were acceptable. This level of bromide is within the Maximum Concentrations of 0.57 mg/l and a Guideline of 7mg/l,  set by the 2008 Australian National Guidelines Water Recycling on pages 34,110

Recommend: BROMIDE That the 2009 ADWG recognise  (take into account) that levels of Bromide in drinking water need to be addressed because of new technologies being adopted by the water Industry  (Reverse Osmosis) to recycle water for drinking purposes and adopt the values set in 2008 Australian National Guidelines for Water Recycling for Bromide Maximum Concentrations 0.28 mg/l & Guideline 7mg/l

For queries and more information about the following text contact;

email; info@yourwateryoursay.org for further details

or visit www.yourwateryoursay.org

c/o Kilcunda Post Office, Kilcunda, Vic, 3995

Complain to; Minister for Planning, Mr. Justin Madden, Level 17, 8 Nicholson St, Melbourne, 3000

justin.madden@parliament.vic.gov.au Fax: 9637 8921

Protest Rally 31 October 2007

How is it done?

Very large quantities of sea water (11,000 litres per second or 16 Olympic size swimming pools every hour) are pumped into a factory-like complex.

The water is mixed with chemicals in a pre-treatment process. This kills any animal life and removes any solid bits which will clog up the next stage of filters.

It is then pushed through a series of exceptionally fine membranes (this process is called reverse osmosis) which filters out everything except the water.

What chemicals are used in desalinisation?

Chlorine: 3 million litres

Caustic soda: 150,000 litres

Hydrochloric acid: 120,000 litres

Ferric chloride: 45,000 litres

(per year based on Perth's desalination plant).

Some of these chemicals are discharged back into the sea. Some form carcinogens and heavy metals that contaminate the food chain.

How big is the desalinisation plant?

A plant that produces 150 billion litres of water a year:-

needs approximately 40 hectares. This is roughly the same as 400 house blocks.

The building would be five stories or 18 metres high.

What happens to the stuff which has been filtered out?

The solid animal waste and chemicals from the pre-treatment part of the process is trucked away from the factory. This waste goes to a registered landfill site (a tip).

A 150 billion litres desalination plant produces 30,000 tons of solid waste yearly, that's about 2000 truck loads.

Most of the salt is pumped back into the sea as brine at a rate of 5500 litres per second. This water is about twice as salty as normal seawater and contains other toxic substances.

What does it do to the sea?

Very few studies have been done worldwide

Things that could possibly happen include -

A reduction on the amount of food at the bottom of the food chain as more than 275 000 small sea creatures are sucked into the plant every second.

The brine discharge may make conditions better for pest species to flourish and could cause massive environmental damage.

Underwater noise from the huge pumps may upset dolphins and migrating whales.

Heavy metals and carcinogens entering the food chain, ultimately being a human health concern.

What about on land?

Desalinisation plants are huge ugly factories. This is why they are usually built in industrial areas. They need new big electricity lines, pipelines and pumping stations that will stretch for many kilometres across the rural countryside.

Earthworks for the buildings, pipelines and pumping stations to urban areas can cause serious environmental problems.

How much energy does it use?

The reverse osmosis process is highly energy intensive.

A 150 billion litre desalinisation plant uses 900 GWh of electricity a year.

This is nearly 2 percent of Victoria's current total enregy use, or enough to power 170,000 homes!

What does this mean in terms of climate change?

Brown coal used for electricity generation accounts for almost half (49%) of the Primary energy source used in Victoria. Other sources are; gas 19%, oil 30% & renewables 2% (Energy in Australia 2006). Brown coal generated electricity is particularly Greenhouse intensive. In 2004 Australia's emission of greenhouse gases was 28.2 tonnes per person. This is the highest in the world.

We need to cut our use of coal powered electricty, not increase it.

Increased greenhouse gases = less rainfall - desalinisation = increased greenhouse gases = even less rainfall = even more desalinisation.

Desalinisation therefore doesn't solve the problems of climate change but rather adds to it.

Can't the plant use the 2% renewable energy to make it carbon neutral?

No, the Green Energy in Victoria has already been bought by families and businesses wanting to make a difference to Climate Change. There is just none left for the Government to buy power to a desalinisation plant.

How much will desalinated water cost?

No-one knows for sure but estimates range from 3 to 10 times the cost of water now.

An average family will probably pay an extra $900 per year for water.

Because factories and businesses will be paying more for their water, the cost of everyday items and services will rise as well.

This means the price of everything from a haircut to a beer is likely to increase significantly.

The desalinisation plant and the water it produces would be a Public-Private Partnership (as with Citylink), that is, part owned by a foreign multinational company.

Even when the dams fill, water will still be expensive. This is because the Government still has to pay the owners of the factory the same amount of money whether of not the water is needed or used.

What is an EES and do we need one?

An Environment Effects Statement is a detailed report which describes the likely environmental effects which will be caused by development. Any large infrastructure development such as desalinisation plant should be put under scrutiny by an EES. An EES summarises the proposal, any feasible alternatives and expected environmental effects.

What can Victoria do before it considers desalinisation?

Catch storm water falling on urban areas and use it efficiently.

Install rainwater tanks on all suitable buildings across the state. A water tank on 60% of Melbourne homes can collect the same volume of water that the desalinisation plant and will produce it at 20% of the environmental cost.

Introduce recycled water. Properly treated recycled water can be used everywhere in the home, for industry and outdoor use. London and Singapore both rely on using recycled water for drinking. Even a domestic grey water system can save thousands of litres

Fix all leaking pipes, taps and fixtures across the State.

Encourage water saving in homes and businesses.

Use the knowledge and expertise we have in Australia to become leaders in water use and conservation. Not just follow a growing world trend which jeopardises the environment on which humanity depends.

Powlett River, Gippsland, west of the Desal plant.