Marooned in a lagoon

MAJOR users of the Balaklava’s treated water scheme, including the racing club and council-owned parks, are irrigating with mains water after the town’s storage lagoon effectively ran dry.

While a hot, dry summer and large water demands have been contributors to the lagoon’s low levels, a mechanical breakdown has meant the town’s wastewater has been pumped into old storage lagoons to Balaklava’s north.

Water in these lagoons can’t be pumped back into the treated water lagoon, in the centre of the Balaklava Racing Club track.

Wakefield Regional Council community and development services manager, Chris Parish, said discussions are under way to resume water treatment services.

“I am expecting a limited supply of water to be on line in the coming weeks, which will be managed on a needs basis i.e. those users without access to bore water will be given priority for connection back into the system as a priority,” he said.

“Dependant on inflows into the Waste Water Treatment Plant, we should have supply back on by end of March/early April.”

Main users of the waste water include Balaklava Racing Club and WRC’s parks and gardens, while an olive grove in Blyth has a commercial agreement linked to SA Water Tariffs at a fixed percentage to utilise the water when available.

While Ralli Park and the town’s schools have access to the water, they primarily use bores for irrigation.

Each user must record their water flows per month and pass on to council their readings, which must not exceed 10 megalitres of treated water per year.

“Unfortunately we have had issues with the meter at the racecourse that may or may not have contributed to the current issue,” Mr Parish said.

“This has now been highlighted and is currently being rectified.

“This is the first year since the system has been operating that we have used all of our supply, this can be attributed to a number of issues (including) prolonged hot weather events causing larger amounts of evaporation (and) over irrigation supply to individual users.

“Towards the later part of 2018, we had issues with the plant of a mechanical nature, forcing our produced water being diverted to the old evaporation ponds.”

The holding capacity of treated wastewater in Balaklava is 50 megalitres.

Currently, the Balaklava treated wastewater storage lagoon is sitting below our one metre low water mark, which has resulted in a shut down of supply to all end users.

“This is done to minimise any damage to council’s irrigation pumps and the end users irrigation infrastructure as a result of sediment from the bottom of the lagoon being picked up by the irrigation pumps,” Mr Parish explained.

“Council staff are very mindful of the needs of our water agreement holders and the financial pressures associated in relation to cost of mains supply for watering public and recreational areas.

“With this in mind, we are currently working with our wastewater contractor, Alano Water, on a financially viable option to increase our current storage capacity within Balaklava; which will allow council to better manage water storage and supply all year round.”

 

• Pictured: The renovated track at Balaklava passed its first test of 2019 with flying colours on Sunday. All seven races were run without incident in front of a strong crowd despite the heat.