Designed to deliver up to 100 billion litres (100 gigalitres) of water each
year, South Australia’s desalination plant at Port Stanvac, 25km southwest of
Adelaide, is part of the state’s Water for Good plan to secure water for the
The facility will draw seawater from 1.4km off the coast and convert it to
desalinated drinking water using a process known as reverse osmosis. During the
process the sea water is pressurised and pushed through a series of superfine
membranes. The dissolved salts and impurities are filtered out and collected as
a saline concentrate, leaving desalinated drinking water which is 99% free of
The facility has been designed and built by AdelaideAqua, who will then operate
and maintain the plant for 20 years.
At the heart of the plant are two reverse osmosis buildings, each capable of
delivering 150 million litres of desalinated water a day.
Watson Fitzgerald & Associates have been working on the site for 12 months as
the HVAC contractors with Company Director Peter Spencer as the Project Manager.
“The mechanical design includes a range of smoke exhaust, supply air and general
exhaust fans, along with rotary vents and transfer fans from Fantech,” he said.
“And because the plant processes salt water, all fans and components must be
made from stainless steel or powder coated to prevent rust.
“The design is relatively simple; however, the large footprint of the two
reverse osmosis buildings has made installation more difficult. Five Ø1800mm
stainless steel axial smoke spill fans and attenuators had to be individually
lifted onto the roof of the first building. Each unit weighed about 1.5 tonnes
and had to be lifted 30 metres by a 130 tonne crane to reach its final support
Fantech Sales Engineer Jean Butterfield said the desalination plant was the
largest project the South Australian office had worked with. “Many of the fans
were non-standard sizes and had to be built specifically for this project,” she
Another unusual aspect of the project was ventilating the tunnel pumping station
which is located 40m underground.
The station is responsible for pumping sea water into the plant and discharging
the concentrated saline back into the sea. These fans will be installed at
ground level and ducted through to the pumping station below to ensure the
motors are kept cool and remain in operation.
Peter said, at an estimated cost of $1.8 billion, the desalination plant was one
of the largest infrastructure projects in the state. “There are currently about
1400 people employed on site, including 25 of our people”.
He said the first building was due to be completed mid-year. It is anticipated
that it will start producing drinking water by the end of July 2011. Work has
started on the second building and it should be completed in December 2012.