Under water pipes in place at Kangaroo Island

SA Water has achieved a major milestone in the delivery of Kangaroo Island’s new desalination project, with three large underwater pipelines now in place off the coast of Penneshaw.

SA Water senior manager of capital delivery Peter Seltsikas said the new underwater infrastructure is adjacent to the existing smaller desalination plant on Desal Drive.

“The complex process of getting the high-density polyethylene pipelines in place was quite the effort, with crews taking around five hours to safely tow the infrastructure from the Kingscote jetty and into position using a large barge vessel,” Seltsikas said.

“We also needed to time these works with the unpredictability of weather, with the crews requiring around three days of ideal tidal conditions to safely transport and sink the pipes to the ocean floor.”

Constructed in Kingscote with SA-based company Maritime Constructions before making the journey to Penneshaw, the 200m long submerged pipelines include two intake pipes which will draw in seawater for treatment into safe, clean drinking water at the new, two million litre-per day-capacity desalination plant near Hog Bay Road.

“We have the expertise required to successfully construct and operate a desalination plant like this without impact to the surrounding impact environment, having successfully operated the existing facility in Penneshaw for almost 25 years,” Seltsikas said.

“With this important milestone ticked off, we’re now working to complete the remaining marine works and connect the pipes ahead of the plant producing first water from the middle of this year.”

The third outfall pipe will return saline concentrate from the desalination process to the ocean, in accordance with strict environmental guidelines.

SA Water has also completed the construction and testing of more than 50km of underground water trunk main spanning from Penneshaw to the utility’s existing Middle River water supply network.

Once operational, the pipeline will deliver drinking water produced from the new seawater desalination plant to people living in American River, Island Beach, Baudin Beach and Sapphiretown.

Penneshaw’s new desalination plant will work in tandem with the existing nearby desalination facility and Middle River Water Treatment Plant to increase the security of Kangaroo Island’s drinking water supply for future generations.

“Stretching a total of 50 kilometres, the ductile iron cement-lined pipeline is among the largest underground trunk main constructions we’ve completed in recent years,” Seltsikas said.

“Having completed the extensive design, construction and testing required for a main of this size and scale, to now have the entire length of underground pipe ready for action is a positive achievement.”

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