CQUniversity Australia

Volcanic rocks could help solve city's salty water 

Media Contact: Ben Kele on 0407 268 069

A local water expert claims to have found the answer to the Fitzroy River's current woes - volcanic rocks...

While conducting an independent evaluation of the River's water quality in the past week, CQUniversity's Ben Kele trialled altering the salinity of the samples using the same technology he has been using in his coal seam gas water research.

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His findings are encouraging and are food for thought for Fitzroy River Water authorities.

"Our tests firstly confirmed the relatively high salt content in the Fitzroy River," Mr Kele said.

"We then ran a few tests with the water we collected to see if we could change the salt in the water. We ran the water through volcanic rock filters, the same we use to treat associated water, a by-product of the coal seam gas industry.

"The results showed that we were successful in reducing the salt content by up to 40%."

Mr Kele has been successfully trialing volcanic rock filter technology with coal seam gas associated water from a number of coal seam basins and expects the system to be operating commercially in the industry within the year.

Concentration of sodium salt is the major water quality issue that plagues the coal seam gas industry, and apart from very expensive desalination plants, there have been few solutions to this problem up until now.

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Mr Kele's volcanic rock filters have provided the industry with a cost effective and natural solution; one that also has the potential to improve the quality of Rockhampton's drinking water.

"We know that these filters are successful at reducing salt levels and they can also reduce heavy metals associated with mine water discharge - another important issue with our river system."

Mr Kele said the tests showed that if salinity remained a problem in the Fitzroy, volcanic rock filters may provide an effective solution.