The Victorian Desalination Project officially finished its commissioning tests on Monday 17 December 2012.
As commissioning is complete, water production has ceased and the plant has been placed in standby mode as the government has decided not to order water for 2012‑13.
Like any piece of infrastructure, the desalination plant was tested to ensure it operated properly. Commissioning tested for performance, production and reliability to ensure the plant produced and transferred drinking water to the quality and quantities required.
Initially each 50GL module for the plant was required to undergo performance testing for water quality. Water was released to the ocean during this testing.
Water quality standards were required to be met at the plant site and every delivery point and were monitored by DSE, water authorities and AquaSure. During commissioning the IREA supported the review of contract water quality requirements. The Department of Health was also involved in reviewing results as related to the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and Health (Fluoridation) Act 1973 requirements.
Once water quality was fully proven for the first 50GL module, desalinated water began to enter the transfer pipeline for its commissioning and ultimately entered the network via Cardinia Reservoir.
The project’s 84km transfer pipeline has a delivery point at Berwick that connects to Cardinia Reservoir. There, the water mixes with catchment supplies and can be transferred to the broader network, depending on how storages are managed.
Following completion of all performance testing as well as additional reliability tests for the first 50GL module, the plant achieved its first contractual milestone of Preliminary Commercial Acceptance on 29 September 2012.
The second and third 50GL modules then underwent testing before all three streams were operated together. Water production increased gradually.
On 30 November 2012, Commercial Acceptance on the project was achieved. At that time, the plant proved that it could produce high quality drinking water at a rate of 150GL per year (450 megalitres per day).
To achieve Reliability Testing Finalisation (the final commissioning test), the plant was required to operate at a rate of 150GL per year for 30 days to test reliability of all systems.
For information on water in your area, contact your water authority.
City West Water 132642
Yarra Valley Water 131721
South East Water 131694
Further information on water quality can be found here.
A fact sheet on water quality can be found here.