An electrical fault at Victoria’s desalination plant has forced the operator to install 30 diesel generators the size of shipping containers as an emergency back-up power supply.
Electrical equipment that links an underground cable to the desalination plant at Wonthaggi was damaged during a maintenance shutdown in December.
The Victorian Government has placed an order for 50 gigalitres of desalinated water for delivery by June, but water production cannot start until repairs are completed.
The plant was finished in 2012 but has sat idle since.
Aquasure chief executive Matt Brassington said in a statement the generators would only be needed if repairs to the cable took longer than expected.
The large, one-megawatt generators would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Some night-time lighting of the area would also be needed, and up to four fuel trucks would deliver to the site daily.
The Bass Coast Shire Council sought an urgent meeting with Aquasure about the emergency power plan.
Mayor Pamela Rothfield said residents were worried about polluting emissions and loud noise from the generators.
“We’ve seen other towns that have been subjected to massive pollution, and I think it’s awful that our community has to potentially suffer something like this.”
A decision about whether the generators are needed will be made later in the week.
Cr Rothfield said Aquasure had applied to the Environment Protection Authority for approval to use the generators.
“So they can’t switch on until about March 14 and they can only get approval to run the generators for 30 days,” she said.
The company maintained it does not expect to have to use the generators for any longer than one month.