Remote town gets water treatment solution

Remote town gets water treatment solution

The small town of Taralga, in southeast Australia, will soon benefit from a customized water treatment system, thanks to a collaboration between Xylem and General Electric. Xylem is building the compact treatment plant in a 40-foot shipping container and will use GE membranes to supply the town’s 300 residents with high quality drinking water.

Though there are many towns in Australia that have very limited municipal water treatment, the town of Taralga – situated 140 kilometers south west of Sydney – recently invested in an advanced water treatment system from Xylem using GE ZeeWeed* membrane technology.

The compact size and durability of the water treatment plant, its flexibility to increase its output, and its ability to treat cold water with a turbidity of 80 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) were some of the factors taken into account by the city officials in selecting Xylem’s offer.

“As well as the strong technical solution that Xylem is delivering for our water treatment challenges,” says Luke Maloney, Manager Operations, Upper Lachlan Shire Council, “we are reassured by the fact that Xylem can help us to maintain the system and ensure that it consistently operates at peak performance.” 

Turbidity and cold water challenges

As the main raw water source for the new Taralga water treatment plant is a river, key challenges for the solution were algae and high variations in incoming turbidity, which can reach values of up to 80 NTU. In addition, since the water temperature in the region drops to 5°C during winter, the plant had to be designed with the ability to treat cold water at a similar rate to the temperatures experienced during the warmer months.

“Taralga’s current water supply frequently displays high levels of turbidity and discoloration,” says Todd Miklich, business development manager with Xylem. “Both of these issues are addressed with our solution. Through enhanced coagulation we ensure that organic matter is removed and discoloration is reduced.”

Advanced membrane technology

The GE ZeeWeed advanced ultrafiltration membranes used at the Taralga plant are pressure-driven barriers that suspend solids, bacteria, viruses and other pathogens from water or wastewater, producing water with very high purity and low-silt density. The membranes can treat surface water, ground water and biologically treated municipal effluent. Nearly 2,500 plants worldwide use this technology to produce superior quality drinking water and to meet or exceed stringent wastewater treatment and water reuse standards.

“The membranes ensure a constant low turbidity of less than 0.3 NTU irrespective of any turbidity peaks in the raw water entering the system,” says Miklich. “The solution also ensures accurate Protozoa reduction of more than three log while final chlorination delivers residual disinfection. In essence we are delivering a complete solution that manages water transportation, treatment and chemical waste handling.”

A successful collaboration

The collaboration between Xylem and GE leverages Xylem’s global sales network, which helps customers in more than 150 countries address critical water issues. Xylem has been GE’s distribution partner into the public utilities market for the latter’s advanced membrane filtration products since November 2011.

For public utilities, the addition of GE’s ZeeWeed membranes expands the water and wastewater treatment product portfolio available from Xylem, which currently includes products for water and wastewater transport, biological treatment, media filtration and disinfection.


*A trademark of the General Electric Company. May be registered in one or more countries.

by Simon