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IN THE NEWS Binningup desal plant supported

THE development of Western Ausralia?s second desalination plant at Binningup, north of Bunbury, has moved a step closer after the state?s environment watchdog recommended that the Water Corporation project should proceed. The final nod of approval now rests with Environment Minister Donna Faragher, who will have to contend with opposition from the local community and some of her parliamentary colleagues, who want the location reviewed. The Environmental Protection Authority this week recommended approval for the 100-gigalitre desalination plant. EPA chairman Paul Vogel said it was unlikely the EPA?s objectives would be compromised provided there was satisfactory implementation of the recommended conditions. ?Different layers of water with differing salinity levels with no mixing between them can result in the oxygen needed for marine life in one layer being depleted when the brine discharge from a desalination plant is not designed and diffused properly,? Dr Vogel said. ?The modelling done for this proposal indicates that a deoxygenation event is very unlikely, but to be on the safe side, monitoring of dissolved oxygen levels should be undertaken during the first year. ?The effects on marine mammals and habitat such as seagrass relating to the construction of the intake and outfall structures should be limited in area and duration, and best practice design and management measures should minimise impacts.? The EPA report is subject to appeal until October 20. The project will also be assessed separately by the Commonwealth government

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