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Oil & Gas

Delivering a secure, reliable source of water to maintain its Cooper Basin operations.

Reverse osmosis combined with various pre-treatment technologies
February 2004
Cooper Basin, SA/Qld
Oil & Gas

Delivering a secure, reliable source of water to maintain its Cooper Basin operations.


Broken Hill has relied on the Menindee Lakes as the town’s main water supply since the 1960’s. The Menindee Lakes is a chain of shallow ephemeral freshwater lakes connected to the Darling River to form a storage system.

In late 2015, due to the drought conditions in the Darling system the capacity of the lake system was close to empty.

This not only limits supply of water but also impact on the quality of water which deteriorates (salinity increases) due to the high evaporation rate. Under these conditions, Broken Hill’s Water Treatment Plant, designed to remove turbidity and organic matter using conventional filtration process, requires an upgrade with the reverse osmosis process to remove the excess salinity.

Therefore the requirement for an RO plant arose, which required completion in a very short time frame - 12 weeks, very careful installation and integration with the continuously operating upstream water filtration plant, along with numerous procedures and measures to comply with from the NSW Public Works who managed the overall project on behalf of Essential Water, the owner and operator of the Broken Hill WTP.

The new RO plant was required to be integrated with the existing water treatment facility on site - successful integration would require close management of the equipment interfaces.


With a 12 week time frame, the project was completed in a very short time frame to all required standards set out by the NSW Public Works.


There may be oil and gas in the Cooper Basin, a remote area near the Qld and SA borders, but the only water source is both saline and heavily contaminated with hydrocarbons. In addition, the temperature fluctuates between 90 degrees Celsius and near freezing. For Santos to use the groundwater for process and drinking needs at its Moomba, Ballera, Jackson & Tarbat fields, extensive treatment was required.


Based on their experience in providing sustainable sources of drinking water from desalination plants, Osmoflo was commissioned to deliver a comprehensive treatment solution. Despite a number of site-specific challenges for pre-treatment before reverse osmosis, all plants now successfully deliver drinking water, with two providing high purity water for boiler feed. Osmoflo technicians fly to the Cooper Basin on a regular basis to undertake preventative maintenance, complementing Osmoflo’s proprietary PlantConnectW around-the-clock remote operations and monitoring system.


In line with their commitment to deliver a sustainable water future for all, Santos now has a secure, reliable source of water to maintain its Cooper Basin operations for years to come. Osmoflo has supplied and now operates the plants under an all-risk operation and maintenance agreement where we assume responsibility for efficient operation, quality and delivery as required. This arrangement allows Santos to focus on core activities with Osmoflo taking water demand risk.

Oil & Gas
Oil & Gas