Untreated water for tomato farm

15th May 2019
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At last week’s meeting of Armidale Regional Council (ARC) it was decided to move ahead with a proposal to encourage the Elm St glasshouses operated by the Costa group to use untreated
water from the Malpas Dam Pipeline.

First established in 2004, Costa has been producing tomatoes on the original site for 15 years and currently use around 40-50% of the water produced by the Guyra water treatment plant.Currently operating at near full capacity, pumps that transfer treated water to Guyra are undersized and the town’s two reservoirs are also too small to meet peak daily requirements. ARC Mayor Simon Murray said that council is working with the Costa group to see if they can use untreated water once the Malpas pipeline is complete.

Council has supplied water quality data to the Costa Group for initial assessment of what treatment would be required so they can assess the costs associated with treating water from Malpas Dam

“If that occurs, it will reduce the amount of water which has to be treated and will allow council look at other water uses,” Cr Murray said. “Council is looking at supplying untreated water at a rate which is comparable with other intensive horticultural users around the State.

“It will cost a significant amount of money for Costa’s to install their own plant and providing a two-year grace period will enable the tomato farm to assess the economics of switching to an untreated water source.”

CEO Susan Law will continue negotiations between ARC and the Costa group.

Tomato production at the Costa group’s second farm north of Guyra uses water harvested on site, and treated water is used only for domestic use such as showers and toilets.