2009 April: Joyner (Queensland). Fluoride Overdose

Joyner (Queensland) – Fluoride

April 2009: Joyner (Qld) Fluoride ~19.5mg/L

Fluoride overdose report reveals mechanical and human failures


A mix of mechanical and human error combined to overdose hundreds of southeast Queensland households with fluoride, a government report says.

The Queensland government will apologise to about 400 households in the Brisbane suburb of Joyner after it piped drinking water containing around 13 times the maximum recommended dosage of fluoride in April.

“SEQwater has breached the Water Supply and Reliability Act, they breached the Water Supply Safety Act,” Mr Robertson said today.

“I’ve expressed in very strong terms I find this unacceptable.

“My expectation is the board will take appropriate action against those who have been found to be responsible.

Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson said a report into the incident by Associate Professor Mark Pascoe, of the public research body The International Water Centre, found that the responsible authority, SEQwater, had failed in its management role.

“Should there be a repeat of this incident I will be moving very swiftly to take decisive action at the board level, and possibly senior management level.”

Mr Robertson said he was considering amending the law to give the government powers to fine organisations that are similarly derelict in their duties.

The mix-up occurred on April 29 this year, but the incident began days before with the disabling of an erratic flow switch and a fluoride “hi-alarm”.

On April 27 the water treatment plant at North Pine was shut down, but the fluoride dosing plant was not turned off.

June 26 2009: “Queensland Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson has blasted SEQ Water for its role in a fluoride overdose in water supplies, north of Brisbane. After initial confusion about the date, suburbs and dosage involved, the State Government confirmed the contamination happened in April, with up to 400 homes affected in the suburb of Joyner, as well as 200 children at a school camp. Premier Anna Bligh ordered an independent report to find
out what caused a malfunction at the North Pine water treatment plant.”