A report published by Sydney Water recently claimed that seawater piped into the Kurnell plant in south Sydney had significantly higher levels of E. coli bacteria than the water in the city's dams. NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally has announced that these findings are incorrect, and that the $1.9 billion desalination plant is hygienic and safe.
Ms. Keneally blamed human error on the incorrect findings, and announced that Sydney Water is now investigating how this happened.
However, Katrina Hodgkinson, the NSW Shadow Minister for Natural Resource Management, says the admission of errors in the report simply underscore the need for an independent investigation for contamination of the plant's inputs and outputs. The proximity of two sewage pipelines to the plant's intake pipe has been a concern among locals since the facility was opened in January this year.
Despite having been open for full-time operations since January, this is the first quarter in which data on the plant has been reported. Ms. Hodgkinson emphasised that the most worrying aspect of the situation is the Government's failure to test seawater inputs and desalinated outputs for Cryptosporidium and Giardia, "because they claim these pathogens cannot survive in seawater".
Ms. Hodgkinson said: "The Keneally Labour Government has an appalling track record, and to now simply come out and say, `I'm sorry about this, it's all okay and must have been human error' is just not acceptable, and from this Government, not really believable".