Waste system left high and dry

Peppermint Grove development services manager Michael Whittaker in the thermal maze under The Grove.
Peppermint Grove development services manager Michael Whittaker in the thermal maze under The Grove.

During a tour of the $16.5 million building last week, Mosman Park Mayor Ron Norris said the black water treatment plant supplier had gone out of business in Queensland.

‘And there’s also no maintenance support,’ Mr Norris said.

Treated solids should have been used on gardens at the three-year-old Leake Street building but they have been dumped to sewers after State Government banned toilets that separated the waste.

Urine has been successfully treated and used on the plants, resulting in an 80 per cent drop in the projected use of scheme water to irrigate.

Failure of several of The Grove’s environmental systems prompted the councils to establish a review, including considering a replacement $50,000 black water system, last month.

‘We will have to decide whether to find a new manufacturer who can do the same thing or simply continue to discard it to the sewer,’ Mr Norris said.

The Grove’s reticulation suffers blockages that are hard to detect because the water dribbles to plants and is not visible.

Mr Norris said fixing the systems required the councils to recognise the library was a valuable asset.

For the past eight months a heat exchanger under the building has been absorbing bore water warmth to increase the temperature of the building when it is below 21C.

‘The thermal maze under The Grove was calculated to save $5000 a year in power in 2010 and because of the rising price of electricity, and the solar cells on the roof are helping pay back that investment at $22,000 a year,’ Peppermint Grove development services manager Michael Whittaker said.