Harvey Water responds to fears over recycled water scheme plan for Harvey Dam after misinformation spread

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Harvey Water is proposing to store treated recycled water at Harvey Dam for use by its irrigation customers.
Camera IconHarvey Water is proposing to store treated recycled water at Harvey Dam for use by its irrigation customers. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/Harvey-Waroo/RegionalHUB

A South West water co-operative has hit back at misinformation circulating about its proposal to create a climate-independent water supply for one of its reservoirs.

Harvey Water has been working with Lactalis-owned Harvey Fresh since the middle of last year on a State-first scheme for Harvey Dam.

But there has been a sudden increase in concerns in recent weeks, with some residents taking to social media with unsubstantiated claims about the proposal.

A Harvey Water spokesperson said feedback received from staff members showed there was “definitely a misconception” about the quality of the recycled water which will be delivered to the dam if the project went ahead.

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“The team have been working hard to change this perspective, while encouraging individuals to visit our website or contact the office to learn about the proposal,” they said.

“We have engaged an independent review of this process that will be available to the community. In this review, the water quality has been endorsed and the recycled water is considered as a resource”.

If the proposal goes ahead, a maximum of 365ML would be contributed to the dam each year, equivalent to 0.75 per cent of the 49GL which was officially stored in the reservoir last week.

Water from Harvey Dam is only used for irrigation and commercial purposes, with the town’s drinking water supply coming from the Water Corporation’s Integrated Water Supply Scheme which also supplies Mandurah and Perth.

Wastewater from the Harvey Fresh facility will go through treatment it already receives, including fatty substance removal and nutrient treatment, before it gets further treated by Harvey Water.

It will then go through additional UV and chlorine disinfection before being pumped through a 4km pipeline to the reservoir.

A Harvey Water spokesperson noted the stringency of the conditions imposed on the project.

“The processed water will be treated to a very high standard, imposed by the Department of Health onsite before it’s allowed anywhere near the Harvey Dam,” they said.

“Harvey Water have ensured that every litre of water needs to meet six consecutive predetermined standards before it’s released into the pipework leading to the dam. If this standard is not met, the water will be stored onsite”.

There will be remote monitoring of water quality, with the treated water expected to have a lower salt content than water naturally flowing into Harvey Dam.

A second community consultation session was held last week to ease community concerns.

Lactalis will pay for all of the costs of the project, with Harvey Water stating members, customers and industry will not pay any additional costs if it goes ahead.

In response to community concerns, the co-operative is set to hold a third and final community consultation session at the Harvey Town Hall on October 9 at 5pm.

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