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Clean TeQ Water's Ion Exchange Plant at Laramba has Officially Opened

28 April 2023

The Laramba Water Treatment Plant installed by Clean TeQ Water was officially opened on the 26 April 2023, with the ceremonial ribbon cut by Minister for Essential Services Selena Uibo and Central Desert Regional Council President Adrian Dixon.

Laramba Water Treatment Plant Officially Opened

Ribbon being cut by Minister for Essential Services Selena Uibo and Central Desert Regional Council President Adrian Dixon

Project Background and Delivery

At Laramba, naturally occurring levels of uranium in the water historically ranges between 29 to 55 ppb. Clean TeQ Water was engaged by Power and Water Corporation to improve the drinking water quality for the residents of the Laramba community and Napperby Station. A customised ion exchange plant with a capacity of 360 kilolitres per day was installed to reduce the naturally occurring uranium to well below Australian Drinking Water Guideline (ADWG) Levels. The project is funded by the Territory Labor Government’s $28 million commitment to address critical water supply infrastructure needs in remote Aboriginal communities that are experiencing water quality and security stress.

Laramba Water Treatment Plant Officially Opened

Minister for Essential Services Selena Uibo with Clean TeQ Water, and Power and Water Corporation representatives

Works performed as part of the project included replacing the bore pumps, and installing tanks, sheds, and the water treatment plant. The ion exchange system consists of two identical water treatment trains, each having two ion exchange vessels operating in series. The system is skid mounted for easy transport to the remote location. The project was completed on time and under budget. Initial water quality testing has demonstrated the effectiveness of the plant, removing uranium to <1 ppb, much lower than the ADWG value of 20 ppb, and the treated water has been approved by NT Health for supply to the Laramba community and Napperby Station.

Laramba Water Treatment Plant Officially Opened

Member for Gwoja, Chansey Paech explaining the plant to members of the community

Ion Exchange Technology

In the ion exchange process, water passes through a vessel filled with ion exchange resins, which are small plastic beads with a consistency similar to sand. The uranium in the feed water is absorbed by the ion exchange resin and selectively removed. The ion exchange resins are drinking water certified and ion exchange has been used to treat drinking water for over 50 years.

Ion exchange was chosen for the Laramba water treatment plant because:

  • It is a technology proven to consistently remove naturally occurring uranium to meet drinking water guidelines
  • It produces minimal waste compared to other technologies
  • It is a robust and low maintenance technology that can be monitored remotely
  • It uses less power than alternative technologies

Laramba Launch Video

Quotes from the NT Government Media Release

Quotes attributable to Chief Minister Natasha Fyles:

“The project is part of the Territory Labor Government’s $28 million program to improve water quality and supply infrastructure to remote communities with the highest need.

“We are committed to improving living conditions for remote Territorians, and this includes ensuring a reliable and safe supply of drinking water in Aboriginal communities.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Essential Services Selena Uibo:

“Having access to reliable drinking water in remote communities is a priority of the Territory Labor Government and that’s why we invested $6.8 million in this project.

“Power and Water Corporation operate across 1.3 million square kilometres in some of the most challenging and diverse conditions in Australia and I congratulate them upon the completion of this project.

“It’s exciting to be in Laramba to officially open the water treatment plant, which will benefit the local community for many years to come.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Gwoja, Chansey Paech:

“This project provides a treatment solution for naturally occurring uranium in the groundwater that supplies the Laramba community.

“We are also furthering work to improve water quality in neighbouring communities, including Yuelamu and Yuendumu.”