By Jeremy Sollars
A $5 million recycled water extension project to Warwick’s industrial areas to date has no businesses signed up to use the water, the Southern Downs Regional Council has confirmed.
A contract for the project worth just under $3.8 million was awarded in September 2019 by the previous Dobie administration to Newlands Civil Construction and work commenced in mid-April of this year.
The project is 50-50 per cent funded by the council and the Queensland Government.
The pipeline will run from near Slade Oval on Canning and Wood Streets where the existing recycled water mains running from the Warwick Wastewater Treatment Plant on Victoria Street currently terminate.
From there the pipeline will be extended south past the Showgrounds across Rosenthal Creek and behind commercial areas to the west of McEvoy Street and then further south behind the Warwick Saleyards.
It will then branch off to the east under McEvoy Street and up Enterprise Street in the original Warwick Industrial Estate, and south to Rugby Street and North Avenue and Grove Avenue in the new industrial estate.
A council spokeswoman confirmed “no businesses have signed up to use the pipeline at this point” but said previous “consultation” had taken place with potential commercial users of the water.
The spokeswoman said the council “will undertake an Expression of Interest process for businesses to apply” but did not provide a timeframe.
Any business which eventually uses the water would pay a commercial rate less than that currently charged for town water.
“Council consulted with businesses within the industrial estate prior to applying for project funding (in 2019) to ensure there was a need for the recycled water,” the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman also confirmed the recycled water “will not be used for the Warwick Saleyards truck wash unless the recycled water quality is improved (currently Class A)”.
“There is a separate proposed project that includes the installation of a recycled water unit for the truck wash,” the spokeswoman said.
“This is subject to grant funding.”
The Warwick Saleyards truck wash has been operational since water restrictions were last eased in March this year, having been previously closed for some months. Users of the wash bay access the town water at the facility by electronic key-card and are billed based on volume used.
Regardless of where it is used recycled water currently produced by the council cannot be used for food-related purposes as it is not treated to the required standard, Class A+ as opposed to the current Class A standard.
Former Mayor Tracy Dobie said last year any food-related business wishing to use the council’s recycled water would need to install treatment systems to upgrade the quality at their own expense.
In a statement released in mid-April of this year a council spokeswoman said the recycled water extension will “increase the storage capacity of the recycled water network by two megalitres (2 million litres) and deliver a range of economic and environmental benefits to the region”.
“The new pipeline will provide an alternative water source for businesses in the Warwick Industrial Estate which will free up potable water for our residents,” the spokeswoman said.
“Council estimates the project will generate 19 jobs during construction and one ongoing job for maintenance and operation.
“Residents and business owners in the construction area may experience some noise and dust as well as minor traffic disruptions.”
The ‘first sod’ on the project was ‘turned’ in April last year by former Mayor Tracy Dobie and Queensland Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe at the Warwick Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Recycled water from the plant is currently supplied to the Warwick Golf Club, sports grounds in Queens Park, Warwick State High School and Leslie Park from a storage reservoir at Barnes Park in Glennie Heights.
Class A recycled water is safe for human skin contact.