SunWater puts safety first following Bedford Weir incident

23 Nov 2008

Inflatable rubber bags on three SunWater weirs near Mackay and Gayndah will be deflated today as a precautionary measure, following the sudden deflation of a similar device used on Bedford Weir near Blackwater on Sunday.
Investigators from Workplace, Health and Safety Queensland are currently at the Bedford Weir site preparing to undertake an investigation of the weir’s inflatable rubber bag

Dumbleton and Mirani weirs on the Pioneer River near Mackay and the Claude Wharton Weir on the Burnett River near Gayndah all have inflatable rubber dams fitted.

SunWater CEO Peter Boettcher said immediate visual inspections of the three weirs yesterday had identified no risk, but safety was paramount and the deflation would take place as a further safety measure and to allow thorough inspections inside the rubber bags.

He said the measure was in addition to extra signage being erected at all three weir sites yesterday, warning people not to swim downstream of the weirs until the Bedford Weir investigation was completed. The safety signs have been erected at known public access points at each weir.

These precautionary measures should serve to alleviate any public concerns about the operation of these rubber dams, particularly during the current storm season that has already devastated parts of Queensland.

With regard to water allocations, the deflation of the inflatable rubber dams would not have an immediate impact on water allocations for SunWater’s industrial, urban or agricultural customers in Mackay or Gayndah.

Mr Boettcher said he could not speculate on how long the investigation would take, but he re-affirmed SunWater’s full co-operation with the investigation.

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