Yass Valley Council progresses to stage one of the Yass Water Treatment Plant upgrade

James Dugdell is Yass Valley Council's Director of Infrastructure and Assets. Photo: Supplied.

James Dugdell is Yass Valley Council's Director of Infrastructure and Assets. Photo: Supplied.

Yass Valley Council has accepted a grant of $2.543 million from the NSW Government's Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF) to complete stage one of the Yass Water Treatment Plant upgrade.

Under stage one, council will install bubble plume aeration at Yass Dam, upgrade the raw water pump station, and complete urgent works at the Yass Water Treatment Plant.

Yass Valley Council's Director of Infrastructure and Assets, James Dugdell, said this should reduce the number of days residents experience water discolouration and/or water with a noticeable odour.

"Stage one will enable council to manage the treatment process more closely by controlling the rate at which water is processed through the treatment plant. It will also assist with providing a more consistent quality of raw water during periods of low rain," Mr Dugdell said.

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Construction of stage one is due to begin in October 2021 and finish in January 2022, weather and COVID-19 restrictions permitting. Meanwhile, work on the business case and design for stages two and three will commence.

Stage two is a new water treatment plant that will ensure Yass Valley residents consistently receive high-quality drinking water. Stage three will refurbish the existing treatment plant for use when the new plant is undergoing long-term maintenance or experiencing excessive demand.

"The existing plant cannot produce water of the quality required under all operating requirements. High levels of organic compounds, manganese and iron from heavy rain will not be mitigated by the stage one upgrades," Mr Dugdell said.

"The current plant does not treat the water for hardness. The new plant will be capable of treating all raw water quality issues present at Yass Dam."

Council has been advocating for a new water treatment plant to address plant operational, safety and water quality issues for several years.

While the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (Water) has approved stage one, it has queried the comprehensive nature of the upgrade proposed by council for a range of technical, operational and cost-related reasons.

"Council and its consultant, Hunter H20, completed a very detailed study of Yass Dam and the raw water quality to ensure that the design for the new water treatment plant meets all health and water quality guidelines," Mr Dugdell said.

"After receiving feedback from DPIE (Water), council engaged an experienced peer reviewer, City Water Technology, to conduct a peer review of all council and Hunter H20's proposal.

"The peer-review confirmed the need for the new water treatment plant to deliver the water quality requirements. The electrical control circuits in the 31-year-old plant are no longer suitable and a full upgrade is required to reduce the risk of unacceptable outages and disruptions to the water supply.

"Council will continue to work with DPIE (Water) and NSW Health as the regulating authorities to ensure the best outcome for the community."

The Housing Acceleration Fund provides grants for critical infrastructure projects which help accelerate the delivery of housing. Projects funded under the HAF include transport, water, wastewater, drainage and community infrastructure.