1998/2010: Sydney (New South Wales) – Giardia and Cryptosporidium

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Sydney (New South Wales) – Giardia and Cryptosporidium

Parasites in Canal, But Water Is Safe To Drink (June 29 2007)
“LOW levels of dangerous giardia and cryptosporidium parasites have been found in the Upper Canal of Sydney’s water supply feeding Prospect Reservoir, health officials have confirmed…The parasites are believed to have been washed into the canal after the heavy rainfall over the past two weeks. Giardia can cause intestinal illnesses…Mr Koperberg said the canal had been drained for maintenance for three weeks and the contaminants had been discovered
during testing after it was replenished. They were contained to untreated water only and were successfully removed during filtration, he said” http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/parasites-in-canal-but-water-is-safe-todrink/2007/06/28/1182624083319.html

Sydney’s Water Contamination Issues Haven’t Gone Away (June 4 2010)
[1000 cases cryptosporidiosis were confirmed in 1998]
“…A review of water quality management, which has just been published, says there is an urgent need for action on the 120-year-old canal which carries one quarter of the water going into Sydney’s main water treatment plant….The review has found the Upper Canal is deteriorating rapidly. Apart from posing a major risk to the purity of Sydney’s raw water
supply it is in danger of failing…The Upper Canal is a great piece of engineering but it was built in 1888. It runs over 60 kilometres from south of Sydney delivering water entirely by gravity from the Avon, Cataract Cordeaux and Nepean dams. It traverses what was bushland and farmland, in the fast developing south-west sector. Neighbours to the canal now include Campbelltown and Camden as well as many on-site sewage treatment plants and feedlots. The
Government was warned as far back as 1998 that the Upper Canal was a contamination risk, which would worsen with urban development. The trigger for the warning was three ‘boil water alerts’ issued to several million Sydneysiders that year. Tap-water was deemed unsafe to drink because of the presence of a parasite called cryptosporidium, which can cause severe illnesses. In his report on the crisis, Peter McClellan QC, found that cryptosporidium had found its way
from Sydney’s catchment into the uncovered Upper Canal and the raw water supply after heavy rains. Potential sources included poorly treated sewage in the water catchment areas, animal droppings from farming and bushland as well as run-off from urban encroachments…In the last decade there have been 400 detections of bacteria or turbidity in the Upper Canal – despite a decade of extreme drought which has reduced runoff. The O’Keefe report says that when rains
did increase so did detection of bacteria.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/04/2918559.htm