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Wednesday, 16 August 1972
Page: 140

Senator WRIGHT - I refer to the question without notice put by Senator Drury on 16th May 1972 (Senate Hansard page 1654) regarding the 'Sirotherm' watertreatment process. The Minister for Education and Science has provided me with 3 reports and some general comments on the matter for the information of the Senate.

Two of the reports are printed brochures prepared respectively by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and ICI Australia Limited which outline the general history and technical features of the process, while the third is a summary of a paper which is being given jointly by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, ICI Australia Limited and the Australian Mineral Development Laboratories at the current meeting of the Australian Water and Waste Water Association in Adelaide. The paper describes briefly the pilot plants at Perth and Adelaide and the results which have been obtained to date.

I am informed that, as the performance of the process varies with different feed waters (depending not only on the total salt content of the water but also on the types of salts present), an extensive series of field trials is necessary to ensure efficient operation with local waters. It is for this reason that a questionnaire has been compiled and included in the company brochure so that each case of importance can be properly assessed.

The 'Sirotherm' process in its present form can treat waters containing a limited amount of hardness in the form of calcium or magnesium salts. For example, the pilot plant at Perth is successfully treating a water of 1200 parts per million of total dissolved solids of which about 10 per cent is present as hardness. Any greater proportion of hardness is not well tolerated by the current version of the process so that a softening pretreatment is sometimes necessary. Research and development is therefore continuing in the attempt to expand the range of water types that can be treated, improving the efficiency of treatment, and reducing the associated costs.

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