Wide Bay Water has been able to cut the cost of a water treatment plant upgrade by half to $20 million.
Wide Bay Water has been able to cut the cost of a water treatment plant upgrade by half to $20 million. Emma Gough

Buckets of cash saved

WIDE Bay Water is set to save about $20 million on a water treatment plant in Maryborough, meaning big savings for ratepayers.

After long-running negotiations between WBW and the State Government, WBW was able to slash half off the projected bill for the much-needed upgrade to the Aubinville Treatment Plant.

"The process will ensure that the plant can be upgraded at a lower cost than the originally estimated $40 million required to meet the previous licence conditions," WBW acting chief executive Garry Storch said.

"Now the new estimate is $20 million."

Mr Storch said this was great news for people's water bills.

"It's a big saving for ratepayers," he said.

Mr Storch said negotiations with the State Government concerned environmental factors and the associated costs of treating and disposing of the water.

The environmental licence conditions on the plant were agreed to by the former Maryborough City Council.

WBW had to ensure those conditions were based on acceptable water-quality parameters and the appropriate science behind the water disposal under the new licensing agreement.

Mr Storch said WBW looked at a range of options for disposing of the treated water, with the cheapest option being to put it into the Mary River.

To do this, however, WBW needed to convince the State Government that the water going into the river would be scientifically treated to a standard which would not harm the river.

Mr Storch said WBW had been able to achieve this.

"The treated water will be at a standard that will have no environmental impact at all," he said.

Mr Storch said that along with the $20 million in construction costs for the treatment plant, there would also be additional savings in financing and depreciation costs over the life of the plant.

He said this was not only from the reduction in construction costs but by being able to push the project out to 2015.



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